An Artist Combined Magazine Covers With Classic Art With Fantastic Results

Twenty-nine-year-old Filipino artist Eisen Bernardo is literally merging the classical with the modern with his project Mag + Art, which seamlessly combines contemporary magazine covers with classic portraits by artists like Picasso, Boticelli, Boucher and van Gogh.

The result is oddly beautiful and compelling, juxtaposing images that, despite being separated by centuries, share eerily similar aesthetics.

"THE NIGHT THE UNSINKABLE SHIP SANK." Kate Winslet, Vanity Fair Italia December 2008 + "Blonde Odalisque" by Francois Boucher
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr

"I just felt that magazine covers (like other contemporary art forms) were inspired directly (and/or indirectly) by classical paintings," Bernardo told Mic over email. "The similarities and references can be observed. It is my way of comparing and contrasting modern and classical aesthetics. Also, in this day when everyone is saying that 'print media is dead,' it is a way of promoting the print medium to the internet generation ... It is my way of giving homage to the magazines — as venue of human artistic expression and vehicle of popular culture."

Bernardo adds that he wants to show how notions of art and beauty have evolved across generations, but that similar themes and subjects have survived intact. "Do we still see a naked woman as an object of art/beauty?" he asked. "Do the celebrities/models on cover can be considered as muses of the contemporary masters? Can the layout of the contemporary magazine covers, the art direction, photography, typography be considered fine art (equal to painting, sculpture, etc.)?"

"ALICIA MEETS JOSE MARIA." Alicia Martinez & Jose Maria Manzanares, Vanity Fair Spain November 2012 + "Nausicaa by" William McGregor Paxton
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr

The project, Bernardo said, evolved as a continuation of his previous work combining classical portraits with images from FHM Philippines, mainly featuring bikini- or lingerie-clad models and celebrities cavorting alongside their historical counterparts.

"Many say that it is parody of current culture, that what the society reveres is the celebrity," Bernardo said. "Some even expressed that the work says something about feminism/objectification of women in the arts/media.  Actually for some, they don't see this as art, more of an internet meme. Some really hate my mag+art project, saying that I just copied existing works and just copied and pasted them using computer software."

"THE SCARLETT DIPTYCH." Scarlett Johansson, Interview Russia February 2013 + "The Marilyn Diptych" by Andy Warhol
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr

"Most of my images are intended to be funny, sarcastic, ironic. There are visual puns all over. Majority of the viewers in the internet feel amazed and fascinated," he added. "Some hate me, and question my integrity as an artist. I'm happy about that, because discussions on various issues in arts are being addressed such as the definition of art, the artist, originality and other things."

"PHILIP AND FRIDA." Philip Seymour Hoffman, Esquire Malaysia + "Frieda y Diego Rivera" by Frida Kahlo
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo

Bernardo says that he is looking into transferring his work into a physical form for an exhibition, but he's concerned about copyright issues. So far, all of the galleries that have reached out about hosting his work are based in the Philippines, but he's had significantly more recognition on the Internet.

"PORTRAIT OF MRS. DON GUMMER." Meryl Streep, The Hollywood Reporter Magazine Russia January 2014 + "Portrait of Mrs. John White Alexander" by John White Alexander
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"BLACK IS THE WARMEST COLOR." Adèle Exarchopoulos, Esquire Greece January 2014 + "My wife, Pauline Miller" by Herbert James Gunn
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo
"PORTRAIT OF MONSIEUR W." Prince William, Vanity Fair Spain April 2011 + "Portrait of Monsieur M," William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"KATHERINE." Katherine Heigl, Harper's Bazaar Ukraine August 2010 + "Rita Granadina" by George Owen Wynne Apperley
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"BOND GIRL." Daniel Craig, Vanity Fair Magazine November 2012 + "L'Odalisque" by Adrien-Henri Tanoux
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"PRINCE (AMERICAN PRESIDENT)." Prince, Billboard Magazine January 2013 + "Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt by John Singer Sargent"
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"SWEET ESCAPE." Gwen Stefani, InStyle Magazine November 2011 + "Dolce Far Niente" by John William Godward
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"PATTINSON BY STUART." Robert Pattinson, Vanity Fair Italy March 2010 + "The Skater (portrait of William Grant)" by Gilbert Stuart
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"HOW TO LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY." Katy Perry, Rolling Stone Magazine August 2014 + "Lovelorn" by Eugene de Blaas
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"UNLIKE YOU, I HAD IT EASY, YOU'RE DARK BLUE"Gwen Stefani, InStyle Magazine April 2010 + "The Letter" by Auguste Toulmouche
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"TUPAC STANDING BEFORE A STOVE." Tupac Shakur, Rolling Stone October 1996 + "A Male Model Standing before a Stove" by John Singer Sargent
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"KIRSTEN AND HER COMPANION." Kirsten Dunst, Esquire Russia February 2012 + "Good Companions" by Vittorio Reggianini
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo
"PORTRAIT OF NATALIE PORTMAN." Natalie Portman, W Magazine May 2005 + "Portrait of Frances Sherborne Ridley Watts" by John Singer Sargent
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"HIS POKER NIGHT YOU CALL IT." Charlize Theron, W Magazine February 2012 + "Poker Night (from A Streetcar Named Desire)" by Thomas Hart Benton
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"SELF-PORTRAIT, AUGUST 27, 2014 BY ROY HARPER." Roy Harper, The Wire July 2011 + "Self-Portrait, September 1889" by Vincent van Gogh
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr
"SAINT ROB." Rob Lowe, Vanity Fair May 2011 + "Saint Sebastian" by Titian
Source: 
Eisen Bernardo / Tumblr

For more of Bernardo's work, check out the project's Tumblr page, Mag + Art.

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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