Programmers interpret art in their own way and it’s hilarious

16 Apr 2016

“java.util.Date”, Salvador Dali, Oil on canvas, 1931

In what is the ultimate revenge of the nerds, programmers are renaming classic art titles.

Once upon a time, arty types and computer geeks were separate tribes, bonded perhaps occasionally by a mutual appreciation of the same music. The art crowd was proto-hipsters with thrift store sensibilities while the tech tribe wore death metal t-shirts, beards and met all the stereotypical nerd clichés, socially awkward and tapping a lonely vigil on keyboards late into the night when they weren’t playing Doom.

Then, like something from the Bride of Frankenstein, the internet happened and the two tribes merged as one thanks to hipster fashion trends, social media, start-ups and a love of burritos. The nerd became versatile, socially acceptable – and rich.

You will observe edgy young programmers for example at Electric Picnic in September gorging themselves on goats cheese, swigging craft beers with their man buns bobbing sagely as they listen to some debate on literature in the Mindfield Arena or, later on, flailing their arms and pogoing to the Human League like some forgotten 1980s New Romantic.

Ultimately, this fusion of art and tech is expressing itself in memes, GIFs and all kinds of things that clutter your social media feed.

But the best thing we’ve seen yet is this Tumblr feed entitled Classic Programmer Paintings that gives software development titles to classic paintings.

Art attack: the ultimate revenge of the nerds

Ruby on Rails

“Programmers at work maintaining a Ruby on Rails application”, Eero Järnefelt, Oil on canvas, 1893

budget meeting

“Engineering manager returning from a budget meeting” Ilya Repin,  Oil paint, 1888

standing desk

“A young programmer with standing desk” about 1670-2, Johannes Vermeer

junior programmer

“Junior programmer learns git rebase –interactive” – Salvador Dalí, 1936, Oil on Canvas


“Marat the PM, upon writing root-cause analysis in post-mortem document” 1793 – Jacques-Louis David

John McCarthy

“John McCarthy presents Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine, Part I” Painting, 1662 Ferdinand Bol

Serverless architecture

“Serverless Architecture”, Joaquín Torres-García, Oil on canvas, ca 1943 Uruguayan Masters collection

First code review

“Their first code review”, William Frederick Yeames, oil on canvas, 1878.

operations meeting

“Operations and Developers agreeing on Git workflow” Jacques-Louis David, 1796-1799, Oil on Canvas

frontend developers

“Frontend developers approach newly released JS framework” – Michele Cammarano, 1871, oil on canvas

Gigglebit is’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years