Programmer paintings

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, a link to the Tumblr site “Classic Programmer Paintings”, in which paintings (some famous, some genre paintings chosen for their pictorial content) are captioned with jokes about the life of programming. Two examples (both from painters new to me):


Ivan Bilibin, “Koschei the Deathless” from Marya Morevna (1900): “Senior security engineer on his way to deliver comments to developers”


Osman Hamdi Bey, “The Tortoise Trainer” (1906): “The Shell Scripter”

(a play involving shell program ‘a program that provides an interface between the user and the operating system’ (NOAD2))

Briefly on Bilibin, from Wikipedia:

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (… 16 August [O.S. 4 August] 1876 – 7 February 1942) was a 20th-century illustrator and stage designer who took part in the Mir iskusstva [a Russian artistic movement, named after the art magazine ‘World of Art’], contributed to the Ballets Russes, became co-founder of the Soyuz russkih hudožnikov (Association of Russian Painters) and [from] 1937 a member of the Soyuz hudožnikov SSSR (Painters Association of the USSR). Throughout his career, he was inspired by Slavic folklore [as in #1].

On Bey (whose painting in #2 Elizabeth sent to me as her favorite in the set), see below.

On “Classic Programmer Paintings”, from the website:

Painters and Hackers: nothing in common whatsoever, but this is software engineering as depicted by artists through history (technically, might not be all classical but hey, this is just a tumblr) . Curator and Chief Captioning Officer: @GClaramunt

Osman Hamdi Bey and “The Tortoise Trainer”. First on the artist, a fascinating character. From Wikipedia:

Osman Hamdi Bey (30 December 1842 – 24 February 1910) was an Ottoman administrator, intellectual, art expert and also a prominent and pioneering painter. He was also an accomplished archaeologist, and is regarded as the pioneer of the museum curator’s profession in Turkey. He was the founder of Istanbul Archaeology Museums and of Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts (Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi in Turkish), known today as the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts.

… he studied Law, first in Istanbul (1856) and then in Paris (1860). However, he decided to pursue his interest in painting instead, left the Law program, and trained under French orientalist painters Jean-Léon Gérôme and Gustave Boulanger

Bilibin takes us into the world of Russian folklore, Bey into life (rather romanticized, it would appear) in  Ottoman Turkey in the 18th and 19th centuries.

But what on earth, you wonder, are the tortoises doing in #1? According to one site on Bey, they’re

a reference to the historical fact of tortoises having been employed for illuminative and decorative purposes, by placing candles on the shell, in evening outings during the Tulip Era in the early 18th century.

Two more Beys: “Two Musician Girls” (1880) and “The Gun Seller” (date not clear to me):



(The gun seller clearly offers other weaponry as well.)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: