Sometimes only a weird old painting can accurately depict the complexities of modern life. That’s the idea behind Medieval Reactions, a Twitter account set up in 2015 by a British student called Cathal Berragan. The hilarious feed, which now boasts more than 410,000 followers, unearths obscure old pictures that totally sum up modern life and occasionally highlight the fact that not much has changed since the old days. Take this scene from a 17th-century wedding, for example. Or is it a modern-day dance floor the moment the DJ puts on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”?
There’s nothing quite like that horrible feeling when you accidentally open the front camera of your phone and are confronted with an unflattering close-up of your own face. Here’s that feeling, perfectly depicted centuries ago in a classic portrait.
That heart-stopping moment when you realize you completely forgot to clear your internet browsing history after looking at something… unsavory? It looks like something similar happened to this guy way back in the 1400s.
The Medieval Reactions account doesn’t shy away from the more difficult sides of modern life. But here it gives anxiety a funny spin using this old painting of a super-serious-looking guy.
You get given one drink too many and have to frantically decide what to do with it while appearing totally calm on the outside. It’s a complex modern struggle, perfectly summed up in this old painting.
That fantastic smug feeling of having your former partner text you to tell you that they miss you. You finally have the upper hand. These guys are portraying that same self-satisfied feeling from hundreds of years ago.
We’re not totally convinced how medieval this painting is. However, it accurately sums up the bittersweet struggle of taking a big bite out of something you thought had chocolate in it but it was actually fruit… ugh!
Sure, this ecstatic guy might be clinging to Jesus’ robes because he thinks he’s literally met the son of God, but that’s exactly the same feeling as when your friend uses fabric softener on their clothes, isn’t it? Heavenly.
When R Kelly’s “Ignition Remix” finally ends, the club lights come on and you find yourself in a slightly compromising position with a guy or girl who turns out to be less than desirable. Here’s that moment in classic painting form.
Trying to impress a girl on Tinder who says she only dates vegans? Get back to your roots and grow your dating profile game to the next level by taking inspiration from this fruity old vegetable painting.
There’s something magical about the way this crude medieval painting manages to somehow sum up the very modern problem of being bored and overstimulated by Twitter at the same time. It’s rather incisive.
It’s an everyday scene at hair salons these days: you go in, requesting something simple, and your overenthusiastic barber decides to go all Lady Gaga on you. It looks like this has been happening for hundreds of years.
This beautiful old medieval painting perfectly captures the shambolic state you can sometimes find yourself in after promising you’d only have one drink because you’ve got work in the morning. “Oh, go on then, one more won’t hurt, will it?”
There are few things more irritating than when a baby starts crying on your long-haul flight. This guy is on point with a pretty extreme solution.
That weird phenomenon that’s exclusive to our digital lives: when your date turns up and looks nothing like their pictures on Tinder. The woman in this classic painting sums it up all too well. The devil is in the detail.
It’s something that could only happen via text: you read way too much into her basic response of “okay” and find yourself desperately trying to figure out what she actually meant. Just like these guys, trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
Netflix and chill vs poems and chill: it’s basically the same thing. And the woman in this classical old painting knows the bitter disappointment of discovering he meant it literally.
That typical modern struggle of knowing what to wear for parents’ evening and a night out. Something this Victorian guy understands perfectly.
Busting out the dance moves for your squad – or in this case, Biblical followers. Ideally summed up in this old classical painting.
Modern life is so not fair: you put yourself out there and share your awesome mixtape and the reaction is… not great. Captured perfectly with this ancient picture.