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written by Sam Greenspan

A pasta sauce label with an unfortunate painting shows the value of hiring someone with a college major that gets quite a lot of guff.

The art history college major gets a lot of guff as one of the “Ha, what job can that get you?” majors. Not as much guff as philosophy, more guff than communications, equal guff to humanities. Significant guff, to say the least.

Well, take note, Big Business. Here’s an example of when a company really needed an art major on staff, didn’t have one and now they’re about to be mocked on a blog the Tampa Bay Times called “entertaining” back in 2009.

The company is Middle Earth Organics. (Apparently J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate hasn’t found out about them yet to fire a C&D their way.) They make organic pasta sauces and the label of each flavor of sauce features a famous Italian painting.

Normally, this would fall deep into “Whoooo gives a shit?” territory, but the painting they chose for their Organic Tomato and Porcini Mushroom Sauce is worth a mention.

That inquisitive young woman comes from a 1598 painting by Caravaggio. And you might think, “Oh, she’s clearly looking down at a big pot of organic tomato and porcini mushroom sauce, pondering if she needs to add more tomatoes or porcini mushrooms, just like the subjects of all the paintings in the Baroque era.” But then we zoom out to the rest of the painting…

And you find out this label actually just features a small rectangle from a painting called Judith Beheading Holofernes — and the woman on this pasta sauce is actually mid decapitation.

And that unfortunate painting selection could’ve been avoided if they’d just hired an art history major. Perhaps it’s a bridge too far to say this example proves every company needs an art history major in house… but perhaps it isn’t.

Perhaps. It. Isn’t.

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