Painting From 1860 Looks Like A Woman Is Holding An iPhone

When Austrian artist Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller completed his painting, titled 'The Expected Woman', he probably didn't think people 150 years in the future would be talking about it.

Sure, he might have hoped that his 1860 artwork would have lived through the centuries, but people have been noticing something in his brushstrokes. The oil painting shows a woman in the centre, walking along a path in a grassy area, while a semi-creepy looking bloke is down on one knee, holding a flower.

Take a look.


Credit: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Some people have pointed out that the woman looks like she's holding a smartphone. Obviously, that sort of thing didn't even exist in science fiction but it does strangely appear as if she's engrossed in the latest level of Angry Birds, out playing Pokemon Go or even swiping through Tinder.

But what rectangular thing would people hold like that as they walked in 1860?

Apparently it's a hymnbook, which would have been all the rage back in the day. Culture blogger Peter Russell noticed the artwork during a trip to Munich and found it interesting how such a small aspect of a piece of art can change the meaning behind it.

He's told Motherboard: "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.


"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."

The bloke on one knee might not even grab the woman's attention if the painting was set in modern day.

Russell was responding to a tweet, which showed an image of a mural done by Umberto Romano's 'Settling'.


Credit: David Stansbury/United States Postal Service

The 1930s era artwork is a colourful and busy representation of when settlers arrived in America. In amongst all the characters lies one man who appears to be holding a smartphone.

Unfortunately, because Romano died in the 1980s and never mentioned this aspect specifically (mainly because the technology was still decades off) we'll never know exactly what it is. However, it's most likely a mirror of some sort, which still would have been pretty impressive for Native Americans to see.

Featured Image Credit: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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