"The Muffed Commission"

Antoine Wierdest

Wierdest early on adopted the Antwerp Depressionist school's use of dark, murky colors, unidentifiable models and morbid themes. He said the first two saved him paint and model costs, and the third was mostly a reflection of his personal life, which wasn't so hot. 


The painting before you started out as a conventional after-the-crucifixion scene, and when the patron canceled the order, Wierdest figured that it would be easy just to lay the painting on one side and recycle the paint and canvas for another commission. Unfortunately the second commission was to commemorate the historic Battle of Ghent's Knobs (1503), and was supposed to feature portraits of the mayor of Antwerp, the grand marechal, and the heads of the two divisions of the nation, the head Walloon and the top Fleming. It was not at all unusual for contemporary politicians to be painted into an antique setting, and the cosmetic flattery enabled the artist to charge more for the finished work. 


Well, the sideways descent from the cross worked pretty well, except that Mary Magdalene's hand and arm can still be seen holding a sponge, and the figure of the grand marechal had to be twisted into an un-anatomical position to fit around the Christ figure. How he planned to explain the presence of the dead Christ smack in the middle of the commemorative painting has been lost to history. 


Things may have still worked out, except that Louie's House of Cheap Art Supplies had bought up a wagonload of paint from a bankrupt dealer that week, and put black, midnight blue and dismal green colors on sale for pfennigs on the guilder. Wierdest, always out to save a groschen, bought up a barrow full, and used them to what he thought was good effect on the Battle of Ghent's Knobs commemorative.


 Well, to put it mildly the unveiling was not well received, and Wierdest ended up with his head through the canvas chained to a wall in the Antwerp sub-dungeons. The painting was lovingly restored for some reason by Wierdest's illegitimate son, Pratzfal, who later passed it off as an early work by Rembrandt when he was in grammar school, trading it to a naive classmate for 3 packs of Bazooka Dubble Bubble™ chewing gum. The last laugh was on Weirdest, however. When he got home after school, looking forward to an hour's worth of relaxing sugary detonations, his mother told him the confection wouldn't be invented for another 500 years.

 

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