The Hour of the Hammer is upon us!

The adage "everything old is new again" has never been truer than in the internet age. It's one of the facts that makes the Nobilified vision possible, but every once in a while we have a fresh reminder of just how true it is, and of just how many forms that truth can take. Today's reminder is a famous French painter whose career spanned the end of the Bourbon monarchy and the rise of the French Revolution long before we were creating oil paintings from photos.

Joseph, Baron Ducreux was not a usual painter for his time. He worked hard--particularly in his own self-portraits--at trying to break out of the normal mode of portrait art. This restless curiosity about different and more naturalistic ways to approach the discipline led to the Portrait de l'artiste sous les traits d'un moqueur, which features Ducreux pointing at the viewer and guffawing.

This portrait's flamboyant sense of play and dress and particular posture would catch the attention of mass culture centuries later for its parallels to the style and swagger of hip-hop. Ducreux could never have predicted the art of the "meme" which would derive amusement from setting his image to paraphrased rap lyrics. (A personal favourite is the variant that renders "Stop! Hammer time!" as: "Cease all activities thou art engaged in / The hour of the hammer is upon us.")

Now, of course, the hour of that particular kind of meme has come and gone, and I'm not pointing it out to say that it's deathless comedy. But it's a great example of the often-random and off-kilter ways that history can speak to us and become relevant to our everyday lives. Something in Ducreux's face as he pointed and laughed across the centuries made us, in a certain moment in the 21st century, point back and share the laugh. That's a pretty special thing, and I have to think Ducreux for his part would have cracked a smile to see one of those memes.

It's also exactly the kind of connection with the past that inspires Nobilified, a connection we think about any time we're turning a photo into a painting. Everything old is new again; or to put it another way, history is never quite as far in the rear-view as we think it is. At the end of the day, we share a sense of grandeur with that noble artist of yesteryear, and he shared a sense of play and fun with us.

A customized painting from Nobilified is a way to recognize that connection, to make it literal, and to celebrate it on your wall. Upload your picture for painting and choose the way that you, too, become a part of this connection. We think you'll have just as much fun with it as Baron Ducreux discovered with his canvas all those years ago.