There is a reason why Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, or Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, Madonna of the Meadow, among others, are treated as if there is gold beneath the painting. Aside from being part of history, these paintings are, well, really majestic and something that deserves a standing ovation.
But not all of them. Okay fine. Those artworks from the ancient times are really something. After all, art was not just an expression, but also a form of revolution, especially during those times when saying something was punishable by death.
However, some of these little pieces of history are the reason why dick and poop jokes became popular even during the time where masturbation was a sin and women were required to wear a chastity belt. Surprised? Don’t be. Contrary to popular belief, ancient civilizations were not shy to express their passions for, uhh, sex and anything vulgar. Here are eight art discoveries that will tell you that men of yesterday were not as dignified as you think.
1. Massa Marittima Mural, Aka The Penis Tree
At first glance, the mural looks like an ordinary tree, the same as many of the images painted across Tuscany. When you start to look at it closely, this mural is more than just a tree with hanging leaves.
In fact, its branches are covered in penises that come in different sizes and shapes – with testicles.
As to why the branches are covered in penises is still a mystery to many. Some suggest the tree with penis is a symbol of fertility, since it stands by the town’s main source of water during Medieval Times.
On the other hand, some British-based expert claims that the mural is political propaganda. In fact, it was a message from the Guelph’s faction saying that if their enemy, the Ghibellines, were in power, sexual perversion, heresy and witchcraft will prevail.
Whatever it is, it’s just too weird to see penises painted all over it.
2. The Cerne Abbas Giant
Have you seen the Nazca Lines in Peru? If not, then you have to at least Google it now and be amazed by it. It may be hard to figure out all those lines, but one thing is for sure: it will leave you in awe.
Until you see the Cerne Abbas Giant in Southern England. Also known as the Rude Man or Cerne Giant, this remarkable sight is a chalk drawing of a naked man on the hillside of Cerne Abbas in Dorset.
Aside from being a Nazca line wannabe, it’s too hard not to notice that the giant looks like it had a massive erection, and he can’t get his thing back to normal, or maybe that is the normal state. It’s just too hard to tell.
To be fair, the giant looks like a fertility symbol, which explains why childless couples camp out in the area. However, the more plausible explanation for this as to why the giant is there is that it is a 17th century parody of Oliver Cromwell, aka “England’s Hercules.”
3. Marginalia, Aka The Doodle Poop
It may be difficult to understand why the medieval monks decided to choose that path. But hey, no one is judging them. After all, they chose that kind of lifestyle, so who are you to question that? Aside from praying incessantly and reading books to increase their knowledge even without going out, medieval monks have a favorite pastime: drawing doodles at the edge of the manuscripts.
Known as Marginalia, they have absolutely nothing to do with the texts. However, what is more alarming is that these doodles must have started the poop jokes, no thanks to the scribbles, of course. Go ahead and type in medieval art or marginalia on Google. You can see some drawings where either a man or animal are letting out that big, smelly poop and aiming it at someone. And yes, it is that graphic. As to whether they are twisted or not, well, it’s up to you to decide. Be the judge.
4. The Bayeux Tapestry
Okay, here is a simple travel tip when you plan to go to Europe: make sure to visit the ancient cathedrals.
Without a doubt, these cathedrals are constructed with precision and care and even decorated with the most majestic paintings and stained glass that leaves everyone in awe.
Well, take the case of the Bayeux Tapestry. It is a novel-style depiction of the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
Measuring 70 meters long, the Bayeux Tapestry is carefully embroidered in intricate detail, which makes it one of the most recognized medieval arts for its almost accurate historical representation of what really happened during that time. Until you get to the part where the priest is punching a woman.
Fine, history has not been fond of women, and in ancient times, viewed them as the inferior ones. However, this portion has nothing to do with what really happened that time. But really, a priest punching a woman in the face? And yes, on the smacked woman’s left, you can see a naked person, with emphasis on his balls, who also has absolutely nothing to do with the story.
5. Roman Graffiti
There is no doubt that the Romans have made one of the biggest contributions on the planet. Admit if, every time you hear the word Rome, you always picture the Coliseum, a political system, Julius Caesar, and yes, even Russell Crowe as a gladiator.
Despite the grandeur and sophistication, did you know that Romans were the first to introduce vandalism in this planet? Unfortunately, the Romans were so into graffiti writing, they did it everywhere, even in their magnificent buildings in the most childish way possible.
As to the graffiti? Well, it could be about anything – from their frustrations about the women Roman dudes had sex with, to issues involving the political system. In Pompeii alone, walls of Pompeian houses were covered with inscriptions of electoral propaganda.
In other words, writing on walls has always been a part of Roman culture. It was only a few years ago when the experts discovered it. It turns out they are not as sophisticated as the History books perceive them to be.
6. Shakespeare’s F-word
He may be the greatest writer the world has ever known. Apparently, Shakespeare loved the F-word so much, he even included it in his works – and people don’t even notice it.
If you think Shakespeare is some dude who is well educated, dignified, and spent his entire life writing sonnets and novels, well, he still is. However, deep down inside him is a cursing man who subtly puts the F bomb in many of his works.
For example, in Act IV, Scene 4 from Henry V, Pistol tells a French prisoner, “I’ll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him. Discuss the same French unto him.” Yes people, the word actually means “fuck.”
If you’re not too convinced, Sir Hugh Evans in the Merry Wives of Windsor said, “Leave your prabbles, ‘oman. What is the focative case, William?” There is a play of words in here, which can translate to “fuckative.”
Sorry Shakespeare, no pun intended here.
7. The Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo was one of the most famous and greatest artists this world has ever produced. Yes, he was the guy behind the famous paintings found on Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. As to how he did that, well, it’s up to you to imagine. Of course, you have to be 50-feet tall to be able to see up close what is behind this famous painting. If your try to look at it closely, you can see that Michelangelo smothered the entire roof with penises.
Apparently, Biagio da Cesena, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies at that time and a hardcore religious purist, wasn’t very happy of how the painting turned out. In fact, he found it offensive to see naked people on the ceiling of the Church.
Feeling hurt and considering what he has to go through to paint the ceiling, Michelangelo got back on Biagio da Cesena by drawing him as well, making da Cesena part of the painting. That’s not all. He even painted Biagio as Minos, aka the judge of the underworld. To make matters worse, there was even a snake wrapped around him while biting his, uhh, manhood.
That’s what you call an epic “screw you.”
8. Inscriptions On Bullets
Unlike this day when killing an entire city only entails dropping an atomic bomb from air, battles centuries ago means slings, swords, bows and arrows and yes, bullets.
Apparently, Romans and Greeks did it quite differently. Instead of just killing their enemies, they wanted to make sure that they were insulted, even in death.
So yes, every bullet that goes straight to their body had inscriptions such as “Take that,” or “This belongs to you,” or “Go to hell,” which of course, was written in their native language.
Once they start to gather the bodies of the fallen soldiers, they would be reminded of the enemy, thanks to the inscriptions.
Who said ancient people were not as barbaric as the people of today? Based on these artworks, it only shows that human beings will always have this kind of weird behavior hidden inside them, regardless of the era in which they were born.