Death of General Wolfe
Inspired by:
Benjamin West
Death of General Wolfe - 1770
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Supper at Emmaus
Inspired by:
Caravaggio
Supper at Emmaus - 1601

Watson and the Shark
Inspired by:
John Singleton Copley
Watson and the Shark - 1778
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

A Friend in Need
Inspired by:
Cassius Marcellus Coolidge
A Friend in Need - 1903
Brown & Bigelow publishing company

Golconda
Inspired by:
René Magritte
Golconda - 1953
Menil Collection, Houston TX

Le Déjeuner Sur L'herbe
Inspired by:
Édouard Manet
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe – 1862-63

The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool
Inspired by:
Claude Monet
The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny - 1899

The Birth of Venus
Inspired by:
Sandro Botticelli
The Birth of Venus - 1486

The Dream
Inspired by:
Henri Rousseau
The Dream - 1910
MOMA (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Heavy Snow and Visitors to the Shiba Jingu Palace
Inspired by:
Ichiryusai Hiroshige
Heavy Snow and Visitors to the Shiba Jingu Palace - 1858

The Vitruvian Man
Inspired by:
Leonardo da Vinci
The Vitruvian Man - 1490
Accademia Venice

The Large Bathers
Inspired by:
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The Large Bathers - 1884-87
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Nighthawks
Inspired by:
Edward Hopper
Nighthawks - 1942
Art Institute of Chicago

Napoleon Crossing the Alps
Inspired by:
Jacques-Louis David
Napoleon Crossing the Alps - 1800
Musée National du Château de Versailles

Creation of Adam
Inspired by:
Michelangelo
Creation of Adam - 1512
Sistine Chapel, Rome

Co.Design

Santa Hilariously Invades Famous Works Of Art

Photographer Ed Wheeler superimposes himself dressed as Santa in some of the world's most famous paintings. The results are hysterical.

When I was a little kid, my father told me around Christmas one year that I should always make sure to behave, because Santa was everywhere. It was a terrifying prospect, but it turns out he was right: Santa is everywhere, even in the paintings of some of art's classical masters. It's all the work of photographer Ed Wheeler, who superimposes himself dressed as Santa in the works of Botticelli, Caravaggio, Monet and more.

A photographer for more than 35 years, Ed Wheeler has been dressing as Santa for holiday cards for nearly as long. For years, Wheeler would send out photos of himself as Santa doing funny thing to clients around the holiday: getting some ink, driving a sports car, going bowling, or tagging a wall with spray-paint: "KRIS KRINGLE 4 LYFE." It was fun stuff, but not particularly original: most people have at least one crazy uncle who does the same thing.

Inspiration struck, according to Wheeler's site, in 2011 as Wheeler stood in front of Emanuel Leutze's famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was then, Wheeler says, that he first realized that Santa was destined for greater things: to invade the world of classical art.

Since then, Santa has made surprise appearances in many famous paintings thanks to Wheeler. He appeared in his long underwear as Venus de Milo in Botticelli’s most iconic painting, and as a water boy fanning a boxer in Thomas Eakins' 1898 painting Between Rounds. Santa Claus has eaten supper with Caravaggio, stood in as God to Michelangelo's Adam, and gazed at water lillies on a bridge painted by Claude Monet. Through Wheeler, Santa has ridden Napoleon's horse, given a cup of Hemlock to Socrates, sipped a cup of coffee in a 1940s diner, played poker with dogs, and floated in a flock of businessmen into the stratosphere in humorous interpretations of some of art's most iconic scenes.

To date, Wheeler has incorporated himself dressed as Santa in more than 40 paintings. His works have gone over so well, in fact, that the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now selling his Santa Classics in their official gift shop as $12.95 note card sets. If you're late getting your Christmas cards off to some of the art lovers in your life, you could do worse than to head over.

[Images via Santa Classics]

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