An unusual collaborative effort between art historians and epidemiologists at the University of Penge, near London, has identified a portrayal of the gateway in a 15th century Italian religious painting depicting the entry of damned souls into Hell.
The significance of the work by an unknown master, entitled Le Tentazzione di Sapori e Le Renormalizazzione di Sigaretti, had been overlooked for years as it hung in the boardroom of a major multinational’s Florence offices.
But when the Penge team obtained permission from United Filtertips International to examine it in detail, they quickly recognised the implications of what they had seen.
“This is the earliest representation of the gateway known in western art,” they say in their preliminary report, published today (1st April) in the Journal of the Royal Society of Penge.
“Pre-dating Raleigh’s importation of tobacco from the New World by a full century, it forces us to reconsider everything we thought we knew about cloud-chasing in the Italian Renaissance.”
The painting may look lurid to modern eyes, with vivid red, horned demons wielding pitchforks to drag fresh-faced screaming youths through the gateway.
Yet it still has much of relevance today, according to Dr. Nisan Aptal, Emeritus Professor of Alarmist Studies at the University of California in Weed.
“Rigorously objective scientists like myself don’t normally take much notice of paintings by old European guys. But this could have been painted yesterday – it’s a spine-chillingly accurate image of the fate suffered by most American youth in 2016. Right down to the pitchforks and the horns,” Aptal told ECigIntelligence.
“Did you know that the highest sales of pitchforks occur in exactly the same states as have the largest numbers of cattle and sheep – animals which have horns? So there’s a clear correlation between pitchfork sales and horn prevalence,” he continued.
“And e-cigarettes are widely available in exactly those same states, with a complete lack of regulation to control sales to minors. Or at least in some of them. Probably. I haven’t looked it up but it’s obvious when you think about it.
“The FDA must act immediately, and if they will not, then the OMB, FTC, WHO, UNESCO, YMCA, BBC, NASA, NASCAR, or GQ.
“Will nobody think of the children?” added Aptal.
– Hiram Schnauzer ECigIntelligence fine arts correspondent