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Art-lovers baffled as 150-year-old painting ‘shows woman using an iPhone’

The art world has been left scratching its head by a 150-year-old painting that appears to have a "time travelling" woman using a mobile phone on it.

From the 1860s, a strange detail from the image – The Expected One by Ferdinand George Waldmüller – sees a woman seemingly totally engrossed in her smartphone.

The woman walks, seemingly disconnected from the world around her, as a man crouches clutching a flower in the foreground.

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She walks in the sun while he kneels in the shade, the painting perhaps seen from his eyes – the unrequited lover invisible to the one true object of their heart.

The image first rose to internet stardom in 2017 while it hung at the Neue Pinakothek Museum in Munich, Germany, with people joking she was ignoring the bloke because she was probably swiping on Tinder.

Not the case though, of course, with the woman actually thought to be focusing deeply on her hymn book, her devotion to God far greater than the mortal man and his Earthly desires.

This slightly disappointing titbit of information comes from the gallery itself and will no doubt be a shock to people convinced the painting is evidence of time travel.

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Speaking to Motherboard, the bloke who first spotted that it looks like she’s flicking through Insta, Peter Russell, said: "What strikes me most is how much a change in technology has [changed] the interpretation of the painting, and in a way has leveraged its entire context."

He continued: "The big change is that in 1850 or 1860, every single viewer would have identified the item that the girl is absorbed in as a hymnal or prayer book. Today, no one could fail to see the resemblance to the scene of a teenage girl absorbed in social media on their smartphone."

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