The big mistake I make when visiting large galleries of the type stuffed to the gills with Great Works is that I never spend long enough standing and just looking at the paintings. Or rather, standing long enough before a single individual painting that I can absorb what I’m seeing. There is some default setting I have been set to that has me move on like I’m scrolling down a feed on my phone fast enough that I don’t have to look at the ads.
The works I found at the Kunsthistorisches Museum were worth taking a moment to stare at. Just to take one example, consider The Miracles of St Ignatius of Loyola by Rubens:
Unfortunately, I lack any formal education in art history, but it is clear enough that what is depicted here is some real Q-anon shit. There are demons, cherubs, and what I think is an exorcism, but might be shapeshifters about to reveal their true lizard form. I don’t think I’m speculating too radically to say that the women at the bottom right are saying “Won’t somebody think of the children?” It is only a matter of time before the conspiracy theorists stop trying to find satanic symbols in corporate iconography and turn to this embarrassingly rich vein in European art. Dan Brown should have started a gold rush, but maybe, like me, your average conspiracy theorist lacks a liberal arts education and scrolls past this kind of content too quickly.