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What is it? The 1860 artwork “The Expected One” by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller depicts a young woman strolling while glancing at her smartphone.
The expected one
by Ferdinand Waldmuller (1793_1865) pic.twitter.com/xV9MGcbZvB
— Olga Tuleninova 🦋 (@olgatuleninova) September 25, 2020
It is an illusion based on our contemporary interpretation of it. It is comparable to the internet meme “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet – Abraham Lincoln.”
Twenty years ago, much less sixteen centuries ago when the picture was completed, no one would have interpreted the woman as peering at a smartphone.
Because there were none, and with the possible exception of Steve Jobs or Star Trek, no one would have envisioned a smartphone.
Instead of assuming it was something they were acquainted with, such as a smartphone, most people would have likely taken a closer look and discovered the young woman was concentrating on a prayer book or hymn book.
Peter Russell, a former Scottish government official, first brought Waldmüller’s artwork to the public’s attention, according to The New York Post.
“What strikes me most is how much a change in technology has changed the interpretation of the painting, and in a way has leveraged its entire context,” Russell said.
“The big change is that in 1850 or 1860, every single viewer would have identified the item that the girl is absorbed in as a hymnal or prayer book. Today, no one could fail to see the resemblance to the scene of a teenage girl absorbed in social media on their smartphone.”
Indeed. The reason is that people’s behavior in public has evolved in recent years. Throughout the years, observe how people, particularly young ones, have strolled along a sidewalk or across a campus.
In the past 30 years, they just walked. Twenty years ago, they strolled while speaking into a cell phone that appeared to be attached to their ear.
Similar to the young woman in the image, they now frequently stroll with their gaze cast downward and their hands in their pockets.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
And, of course, people seemingly talking to themselves often got focused attention until more people learned about and got used to the ubiquity of Bluetooth earpieces.
How people walk today can cause a questioning of the interpretation of Waldmüller’s painting. CONTINUE READING…