If you’ve ever been to the museum and seen any medieval art there’s one thing you probably noticed right off the bat: the babies look a little…weird. Not just weird, but a little bit like ugly old men. Why? Why, oh why would someone intentionally paint babies to look like this?
The trend is pretty invasive and actually has a really cool backstory. See, back in medieval times artists mostly painted religious art. That’s what the royalty wanted, so the artists delivered. And since they were painting for religion, all of the mother/baby combos were based on Mary and Jesus.
Only, back then they believed Jesus was essentially a homunculus: a fully grown man in baby form. Benjamin button, without the backwards aging. They believed that Jesus was born fully formed as a perfect man, so each of these babies were painted as their version of a man in baby form. Kinda creepy.
Luckily, as soon as non-royals could afford it, people started requesting paintings of their own cherub-cheeked babies, and the trend ended. Take a look!