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Joseph Ducreux (June 26, 1735 – July 24, 1802) is an eighteenth century French artist known for his unorthodox style of portrait paintings. On the interweb, his eccentric self-portrait has inspired a series of exploitable macros, featuring “archaic reinterpretation” of popular rap lyrics superimposed over the artwork. Reminiscent of Bayeux Tapestry image macros, this highly verbose joke provides a satisfying challenge of “decoding” the corrupted lyrics back into to the original verses.
Portrait de l’artiste sous les traits d’un moqueur (English: Self-portrait of the artist in the guise of a mockingbird), which depicts Ducreux grinning smugly while pointing his finger towards the viewer, was completed circa 1793.
Over two centuries later in 2009, Ducreux’ portrait was turned into an image macro with a caption reading “Disregard Females, Acquire Currency,” an archaic reinterpretation of lyrics from Notorious B.I.G’s 1995 hit single Get Money. More recently, the line “F*ck Bitches, Get Money” was also featured in Lil Wayne’s 2005 track Money on My Mind. Since becoming popular on 4chan, Meme Generator and other lulz-friendly communities, the image macro has spawned an extensive pool of variations.
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Joseph Ducreux was an unorthodox portrait artist, interested less in the classical ideas of portraiture used by later French artists like David and Ingres. Ducreux had more of what sequential art philosopher Scott McCloud might refer to as a “Formalist” approach, taking the medium to a new ground by tearing down the fourth wall between subject and audience by depicting himself pointing out of the canvas while grinning maniacally, reflecting his belief that facial features could be use to depict personality.
Steve Buscemi Ducreux
On April 8th, 2011, a Tumblr post featured an image with Steve Busemi’s face photoshopped over Joseph Ducreux’s, and it was posted to Reddit the same day. The following day, a Quickmeme page was created with several image macros, often accompanied by text associated with The Big Lebowski, or other films that Buscemi has appeared in.