I suspect there are hundreds if not thousands of photos in the gallery on your phone. If you take a moment to scroll through all of them, there are chances you might spot one that stands out. It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly makes it so special, but the composition, the light, the atmosphere are somewhat unique…

This is the point where we shift from a mundane snap of day-to-day life into the realm of art. Welcome to Accidental Renaissance, Reddit’s beloved corner for sharing photos that look like scenes from classical art. Think of asymmetrical compositions, landscapes, the Fibonacci sequence, sfumato, and the golden ratio…

Created back in 2014, the subreddit is home to 869k “universalis personae” better known as members of the community who appreciate anything from the Renaissance to the Dutch Golden Age. Below waits the new batch posted on the subreddit, so scroll down and enjoy!

#1

In Bruges. Fairytale Town

In Bruges. Fairytale Town

wrigleyirish Report

hi myself, bi weirdo🇺🇦️‍‍
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh wow, that is beautiful!

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Bored Panda spoke to Lisa Yaszek, a Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech who shared some very interesting interpretations of the Accidental Renaissance concept that has gained almost a cult-like following online. Yaszek specializes in researching and teaching science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures.

We asked Yaszek why is Accidental Renaissance, the idea that photos are just like classical paintings, so appealing? “People are fascinated with photos that look like classic art because they allow us to connect some of the most prosaic moments of everyday modern life with the greater sweep of history. When we think about “Great Art,” we think of it as something removed from us in time and space—a “masterpiece” created long ago and far away that was and still is cherished by entire societies,” the professor explained.

#2

Woman Sits By The Window Of A Lviv-Bound Train. AP

Woman Sits By The Window Of A Lviv-Bound Train. AP

fleece_white_as_snow Report

Lego Man
Community Member
3 months ago

I honestly thought that was just a painting up against the window.

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#3

Horse Man

Horse Man

Atretochoanabow Report

Pernille.
Community Member
3 months ago

Gorgeous!

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#4

Hildegarde Repairing The Windows

Hildegarde Repairing The Windows

AL-Walker Report

blobby_grrl
Community Member
3 months ago

cool

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Moreover, “when we think of ‘Great Artists,’ we tend to think of people who differ from ourselves and our friends in terms of talent, training, and time to be creative. By way of contrast, we tend to think of our own photography – especially in the era of smartphones, which can record thousands of images with a simple click of the button – as relatively amateur and disposable,” Yaszek told Bored Panda.

The Accidental Renaissance community on Reddit was born 8 years ago. The subreddit was inspired by an original post shared in August 2014 that showed a photograph of a fight in the Ukrainian Parliament.

#5

The Farmer's Supper

The Farmer's Supper

Semanteme Report

Miocha
Community Member
3 months ago

still picture-esque

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#6

Accidental Caravaggio: My Brother’s Hangover, 2013

Accidental Caravaggio: My Brother’s Hangover, 2013

lgyztw Report

Hannah Edwards
Community Member
3 months ago

The expression, the hand gesture, the chiaroscuro. Peak Caravaggio!

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According to the professor, “Sometimes we are lucky, or we practice, or we show a flash of skill, and we take photos that look every bit as provocative and beautiful as the images we see in art galleries and museums!” Yaszek argues that “it’s an exciting moment that connects us to history and that reminds us we can be creators as well as consumers of culture.”

“In fact, when people post their photos to the ‘Accidental Renaissance’ subreddit, they allow others to connect to history and to be creative as well! It’s fun to read the various comments for each photo, as different posters show off their knowledge of 14th-19th century European art by analyzing various images in terms of color, composition, theme, and lighting,” Yaszek explained.

#7

A Buddy Was Taking Photos In My Shop To Expand His Portfolio, His Lights Did Not Trigger And We Got This Dramatic Shot. It's My Favorite So Far

A Buddy Was Taking Photos In My Shop To Expand His Portfolio, His Lights Did Not Trigger And We Got This Dramatic Shot. It's My Favorite So Far

TheTimDavis Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
3 months ago

Serendipity

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#8

The Baptism. Mtskheta, Georgia

The Baptism. Mtskheta, Georgia

chao_chucao Report

Nash Nopper
Community Member
3 months ago

WOW!

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#9

At The Window In Versailles

At The Window In Versailles

mylittlemy Report

Miocha
Community Member
3 months ago

if not because of the bag and shoes, I would never realize that it's not a renaissance painting

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The appeal of Accidental Renaissance has to do with the fact that it reminds us that art is not just something made by trained professionals for a few select members of society, but that art is something that can be created, studied, and communally shared by all, the professor argues. And this is the endearing beauty of it.

“It’s interesting to note that the most popular images on the Accidental Renaissance subreddit come in one of two forms: they tend to be either highly saturated, dramatically lit crowds of people, animals, or architecture or highly saturated, dramatically lit scenes of politicians and celebrities. The former are fairly easy to explain: people, animals, and architecture have long been the subject of art!”

#10

Blame The Ambulance Guy

Blame The Ambulance Guy

WhiteChocolate55 Report

Maggie
Community Member
3 months ago

He looks like the subject of a painting by Titian. Classic

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#11

French Summer Stairs

French Summer Stairs

MorrisWayne Report

M. L. Dew
Community Member
3 months ago

Surreal!

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#12

This Photo Dad Nonchalantly Posted In Family Chat

This Photo Dad Nonchalantly Posted In Family Chat

leavethisearth Report

Jojo Armani
Community Member
3 months ago

Picture perfect!

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Yaszek explained that during the Middle Ages, European artists tended toward flat, symbolic representation. “As artists of the 14th-19th centuries returned to the values of Greek and Roman antiquity — including an emphasis on harmony, symmetry, and proportion — their representations of classic subjects became increasingly realistic and, eventually, even what we call ‘photo-realistic.’”

Therefore, it’s no surprise that sometimes we take photos, either by accident or by design, that look like classic European paintings!

#13

Golden Hour In France (On Film)

Golden Hour In France (On Film)

Penguinozor Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
3 months ago

How can this not be oils?

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#14

I Keep Getting Told That This Is Renaissance-Like?

I Keep Getting Told That This Is Renaissance-Like?

shiningduval Report

Miocha
Community Member
3 months ago

yep

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#15

US Men’s Olympic Water Polo Team

US Men’s Olympic Water Polo Team

The_Fish_Alliance Report

Greta Kolding
Community Member
3 months ago

This could be a bible illustration. Noah's Ark.

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“Photos of famous people are a slightly more complex variation on the same theme,” Yaszek argues. She continued: “On the one hand, part of our fascination with photos of famous people that look like classic art might well come from the seeming incongruity of the scene: it can be shocking to look at what seems to be a very old image and then realize that there is a contemporary politician or celebrity in the middle of it! But on the other hand, we might remember that artists have created representations of famous people for as long as famous people have existed.”

#16

Old Photo Of Me & Bro Found At My Grandma’s House

Old Photo Of Me & Bro Found At My Grandma’s House

in-thesuburbs-i Report

Queen fhk
Community Member
3 months ago

It sure looks like a painting

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#17

A Nativity

A Nativity

theoraclemachine Report

Artsy Bookworm
Community Member
3 months ago

Awww baby horse😍❤️

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See Also on Bored Panda
#18

Boys Take A Bath In A Canal In Kashmir

Boys Take A Bath In A Canal In Kashmir

Naar-kanger Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

I think we're heading into impressionism here

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“Painted portraits of Egyptian rulers date back at least 5000 years, and the ancient Romans regularly commissioned public sculptures of politicians and military leaders to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Therefore, according to Yaszek, “in some important ways, artistic photos of contemporary celebrities allow us, as modern people, to participate in yet another very old human tradition that connects us across centuries, continents, and cultures,” she concluded.

#19

A Rescued Mother

A Rescued Mother

Ragnara Report

Jojo Armani
Community Member
3 months ago

So many emotions coming through this pic…

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#20

The Contemplation Of The Courtain

The Contemplation Of The Courtain

YeGrayHound Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
3 months ago

Window, check. Drapery, check. Soulful look, check. Yes we have renaissance

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#21

Damascus 1950s

Damascus 1950s

raffaele2406 Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
3 months ago

Old geezers in market, never changes!

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In a previous interview, we spoke with the moderator Openminded_skeptic who happily shared some insights into this now iconic corner of Reddit. “Several people in the post expressed interest in a subreddit featuring photos that accidentally resembled Renaissance art (although the actual photo technically is more along the lines of Baroque art in coloring and lighting, the Golden Ratio spiral superimposed on it notwithstanding), and this subreddit was created.”

#22

Angela Merkel With Fishermen, 1990

Angela Merkel With Fishermen, 1990

nuniabidness Report

Katy McMouse
Community Member
3 months ago

The man in the lower right side could pass for Czar Nicolas.

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#23

Chess Players In Mazandaran, Iran

Chess Players In Mazandaran, Iran

jahanzaman Report

Seth Marsh
Community Member
3 months ago

I can't see the board state clearly, but the distribution of stress would suggest that the guy in the foreground is winning.

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#24

Shot From Switzerland

Shot From Switzerland

Organic_dichotomy Report

Nilsen
Community Member
3 months ago

This isn't "accidental renaissance", this is carefully staged. But absolutely beautiful

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Readers with attention to detail will notice that the community not only shares photographs that resemble or have elements of Renaissance, but include different art movements and styles too. “The definition of 'Renaissance' has expanded to cover art styles from the 14th-19th centuries as the sub has risen in popularity,” Openminded_skeptic told us previously. Today, the community shares pictures that have a resemblance to anything from Baroque to the Golden Dutch Age.

#25

Waiting For A Sign

Waiting For A Sign

jolis97 Report

Auntriarch
Community Member
3 months ago

Hehehe the left hand kat really got the look

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#26

A Very Accidental Scene From Oc Fire

A Very Accidental Scene From Oc Fire

NutellaDeVil Report

Sydney-Kate
Community Member
3 months ago

Sad but yet beautiful

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#27

Safeguarding Jesus In Lviv

Safeguarding Jesus In Lviv

sceptic_tank Report

Casey Payne
Community Member
3 months ago

It looks like everyone is trying to get the drunk who is still in party mode home.

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Meanwhile, the most popular subjects shared on the subreddit seem to depict scenes with crowds of people. They may be “doing things like protesting, marching for a cause, or otherwise expressing themselves; highly saturated photos of people, livestock, or interesting architecture featuring chiaroscuro and, many times, sun or light rays highlighting a portion of the photo,” the mod explained a while back.

He added that photographs that feature politicians and world leaders are also very popular among members of the community.

#28

The Flower Lady

The Flower Lady

Rozzapezza Report

Izzy Curer
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

This picture smells like eucalyptus

#29

Girl Smashing Elbow On Table

Girl Smashing Elbow On Table

ChadKnightArtist Report

Pryjmaty
Community Member
3 months ago

Am I the only one wondering why this photo is being taken through a window?

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#30

Polish People Cleaning Carpets In The Snow

Polish People Cleaning Carpets In The Snow

naislandii1990 Report

peace
Community Member
3 months ago

lay the carpet pile side down in the snow. then you knock out the dirt. you can also drag it back and forth. it's all about cleaning. If you leave it outside for one night, the bacteria causing bad smell will freeze to death.

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Note: this post originally had 85 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.