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Painting of time-travelling woman 'holding an iPhone' from 150 years ago has been explained

Painting of time-travelling woman 'holding an iPhone' from 150 years ago has been explained

What could it be?

Nowadays, we're used to seeing crowds of people glued to their screens as they wander down the street.

But that's a fairly recent phenomenon, hundreds of years ago, the idea of electricity, never mind a handheld computer, would have seemed preposterous.

So you can imagine people's surprise when they spotted a painting from the mid 19th century that appears to show a young woman holding an iPhone as she walks along through a field.

The piece of art, called 'The Expected One', was painted by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller way back in 1860.

It's currently being displayed in Neue Pinakothek museum in Munich, Germany, alongside other paintings from the era.

Peter Russell, a retired local Glasgow Government officer, was perusing the walls of the gallery with his partner when he came across the painting.

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

It depicts a pleasant scene of a girl looking intently at something in her hand while a young man looks on, waiting to present her with a flower.

But for the past few years, people have wondered why it looks like she's holding an Apple device.

"Taking selfies even back then, smh," joked one person.

Another said: "No, that's a Nokia 3310."

But is she a time traveller? Well, no, of course, she's not.

Speaking to Vice, Russell said it was an interesting example of how life had evolved in the past couple of centuries.

"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," he 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.

A standard scene these days.
Oleg Elkov/Alamy

"Today, no one could fail to see the resemblance to the scene of a teenage girl absorbed in social media on their smartphone."

Allegations of time travel were also 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."

Taking to social media, one person backed the explanation.

They said: "It's a breviary - a small prayerbook with rosary beads hanging from them.

"Amazing how we've lost touch with our traditions that we can’t even tell what an average person was doing before cell phones."

So there you have it.

Featured Image Credit: Hajotthu / Wikimedia Commons

Topics: World News, Art, Social Media, Technology, Apple, iPhone