Dutch National Library uses medieval art collection for memes.
We’ve seen a lot of libraries and galleries digitize their collections for virtual perusal in the last year, but never one like this. The National Library of the Netherlands is making a wide array of medieval art available for meme generation.
Memes have erupted in popularity over the last decade. The medium offers an easy way to get a thought across with an image to support the sentiment. Usually presented in a comical way, memes are quick to view, easy to share, and now, easier than ever to make.
The Medieval Meme Generator sources its images from the Dutch National Library’s database. One of the most interesting parts of the website is that it endeavors to educate the user. Each image is supported with a brief video explaining the art in its historical context.
Learn before you meme
One image in particular, titled “forgotten prayers,” appears to be of a man being carried away by two demons. Behind them is a blue cloaked and crowned woman who is pointing at the demons. At first glance it can be confusing. Was this woman telling the demons to take the man away? Thankfully, one of the Dutch National Library’s art historians cleared everything up.
“It is a book about the miracles about Mary. The picture is a warning of what can happen if you don’t learn your prayers properly. The naked man has forgotten two of the most important prayers; the Our Father and the Hail Mary. The two demons are trying to carry him away … Suddenly, Mary appears dressed in a blue robe with a heavenly crown on her head. She instructs the devils to put the man down.”
The Medieval Meme Generator is off to a good start with 15 images suggested for making memes. If visitors can’t find anything they like in that selection, the website allows them to select from their vast archive of medieval manuscripts. The Dutch National Library has also noted that more images will be added to the generator site intermittently.