16th Century Masterpiece 'The Triumphal Arch' Gets A 21st Century Hi-Res Renovation

John Monaghan updated the imperial propaganda woodcut with some tongue-in-cheek modern twists.

Apr 15 2014, 6:30pm

The original arch, above via

When medieval German emperor Maximilian I commissioned 'The Triumphal Arch' way back in the 16th century, it was one of the most perfect examples of imperial propaganda ever seen. At 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide (made using 192 separate wood blocks), the print, illustrated by Albrecht Dürer, was one of the world's largest and was meant to be hung on only the most regal of regal walls. Modern day artist, John Monaghan, has "renovated" (so to speak) the braggadocious artwork by recreating it using 3D-modelling and giving it a "kind of humorous and futuristic arcology." In other words, the interactive interpretation, The Checkpoint, is a high-res mockup of the renaissance-era gaudiness with some present-day twists. 

Along with the luxurious Whole Foods (which occupies the entire top floor of the structure), Monaghan tricked out the Arch with his trademark mix of pristine architectural design, sardonic faux-branding elements, and pure whimsy. Voss water bottles act as gargoyles atop the arching towers, a chandelier emblazoned with the Whole Foods logo sports a royally cliche crown and criss-crossed swords, and, of course, Optimus Prime watches over the whole thing from the top of the Arch. In the midst of the pop culture overload, tiny security cameras dot the walls, wide windows open up a view of the building's bathrooms and a fruit stand, and something that looks like a dragon made of fluffy pillows rests on the roof. We recommend drinking it in while eating a bowl of Gorilla Munch cereal from Whole Foods.

The Checkpoint is part of Monaghan's upcoming 3D-animated film, Alien Fanfarewhich will debut this year, blending influences as diverse as the Palace of Versailles and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Monaghan is also showing his animated film Office at Eyebeam on April 17, as part of the New Romantics exhibition.

You can see the full, hi-res 3D render here, and compare it to the original 'Triumphal Arch' here. Monaghan's reinterpretation of 'The Triumphal Arc' is just a single frame of the film—how trippy and surreal can the man get with 16 full minutes?

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