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150 year old painting appears to show 'time traveller' using an iPhone

Emma Guinness

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150 year old painting appears to show 'time traveller' using an iPhone

The iPhone was invented in June 2007, but the popular device may well have made it to the year 1860 thanks to a time traveller. 

The bizarre time travel theory came about because of a painting called The Expected One, which was painted by Ferdinand George Waldmüller way back in 1860.

It's currently being displayed in Neue Pinakothek museum in Munich, Germany, alongside other paintings from the era, but one viewer recently noticed something very unexpected in the 1860 artwork: an iPhone.

Russell couldn't unsee 'iPhone' in the painting. Credit: Hajotthu / Wikimedia Commons
Russell couldn't unsee 'iPhone' in the painting. Credit: Hajotthu / Wikimedia Commons

Peter Russell, a retired local Glasgow Government officer, was browsing the gallery with his partner when he probably did a double take at the sight of the painting and most likely thought: 'Surely not?'

The artwork depicts a serene scene of a young woman engrossed in what we can only assume is a book while a young man looks on, waiting to present her with a flower.

But to modern eyes, it's impossible to deny that it looks like she's catching up with her notifications on an iPhone.

Russell admitted to Vice: "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."

Maybe the woman in the painting is a time traveller. Credit: Alamy / Edwin Remsberg
Maybe the woman in the painting is a time traveller. Credit: Alamy / Edwin Remsberg

Allegations of time travel were denied by Gerald Weinpolter, the CEO of austrian-paintings.at art agency.

He told Vice: "The girl in this Waldmüller painting is not playing with her new iPhone X, but is off to church holding a little prayer book in her hands."

However, viewers of the painting on social media clearly wanted to believe that time travel is real.

One wrote on Twitter: "What a silly post, anyone can tell that that's a Samsung."

"Taking selfies even back then, smh," joked a second while a third wrote: "No, that's a Nokia 3310."

However, a third did note that there was a major flaw in the time travel theory, writing: "Even if she were a time traveler, that iPhone wouldn't work without cell towers or Wifi."

"It's a breviary - a small prayerbook with rosary beads hanging from them," shared a fourth dismayed social media user. "Amazing how we've lost touch with our traditions that we can’t even tell what an average person was doing before cell phones."

Featured Image Credit: Hajotthu / Wikimedia Commons

Topics: Ant McPartlin, iPhone, Technology

Emma Guinness
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