Batman & Other Super Friends Sit for 17th Century Flemish Style Portraits


Por­traits tak­en by Sacha Gold­berg­er at Super Flem­ish

Super­heroes, as you may have noticed, are seri­ous mon­ey­mak­ers these days. It start­ed when Tim Bur­ton res­cued Bat­man from Adam West’s campy clutch­es, pour­ing him into a butch black rub­ber suit that is of a piece with a lean­er, mean­er Bat­mo­bile. Pre­vi­ous­ly unthink­able dig­i­tal spe­cial effects quick­ly replaced all trace of Biff! Pow!! Wham­mo!!! Fran­chise oppor­tu­ni­ties abound­ed as the entire Jus­tice League went on the block.

Hav­ing looked at it from both sides now, I can only con­clude that something’s lost…

…but something’s gained in the por­traits of Sacha Gold­berg­er, a pho­tog­ra­ph­er who har­ness­es the pow­er of 17th  cen­tu­ry Flem­ish school por­trai­ture to restore, nay,  reveal these icons’ human­i­ty.


The soft­er fab­rics and Ver­meer-wor­thy light­ing of his Super Flem­ish project give his pow­er­ful sub­jects room to breathe and reflect.

Same goes for us, the view­ers.

It’s much eas­i­er to dwell on the exis­ten­tial nature of these myth­ic beings when the White House isn’t explod­ing in the back­ground. There are times when tights need the bal­last that only a pair of pump­kin pants can pro­vide.


Gold­berg­er — whose pre­vi­ous for­ays into both super­heroes and Flem­ish por­trai­ture fea­ture his ever-game granny — helps things along by cast­ing mod­els who close­ly resem­ble their cin­e­mat­ic coun­ter­parts. But it’s not just the bone struc­ture. All of his sit­ters dis­play a knack for look­ing thought­ful in a ruff. In the artist’s vision, they are “tired of hav­ing to save the world with­out respite, promised to a des­tiny of end­less immor­tal­i­ty, for­ev­er trapped in their char­ac­ter.”

Find more por­traits over at Super Flem­ish.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Artist Nina Katchadouri­an Cre­ates Flem­ish Style Self-Por­traits in Air­plane Lava­to­ry

Por­traits of Vice Pres­i­dents with Octo­pus­es on Their Heads — the Ones You’ve Always Want­ed To See

Typed Por­traits of Lit­er­ary Leg­ends: Ker­ouac, Sara­m­a­go, Bukows­ki & More

The Genius of Albrecht Dür­er Revealed in Four Self-Por­traits

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, home­school­er, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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