Dressed in garments from centuries long past, figures from classical paintings peer out the windows of metro cars, vend souvenirs, browse comics and otherwise interact with unlikely scenes in modern-day Naples, Italy. Artist Alexey Kondakov is back with another round of ‘Art History in Contemporary Life,’ his mash-up series that gives the world a new perspective on paintings from the distant past.
The Ukrainian artist is known for relocating angels, royals, knights, the Virgin Mary and other subjects from classical works by artists like Hans Holbein and William Bouguereau into modern-day scenes with careful attention to light and shadow for a convincing result.
Though the subjects remain painterly and the backdrops are crisp photographs of everyday city environments, the blended images read less like Photoshopped collages and more like finished works ready to be hung on museum walls.
Given this new context, the figures suddenly seem more real than they ever did before, as if we really could come across them playing harps in subway stations or hanging out in grungy bars.
Naples is a fitting choice for the latest series, simultaneously giving a nod to Italy’s history as birthplace of High Renaissance Art and illustrating how much the city has changed over the past 500 years. Previous iterations of ‘Art History in Contemporary Life’ were set in the artist’s hometown of Kiev, Ukraine. Check out more images from the Napoli Project at Kondakov’s website or Facebook.