Friday, August 19th 2011
John The Baptist’s Questionable Wardrobe Choices. And Other Such Stuff.

Once a week after school, we go to my mom’s. She bakes chocolate chip cookies and we play games or do other stuff. My mother finds interesting games and things at estate sales with these times in mind and one of the kids’ favorites is “Masterpiece.” Masterpiece is a 1970s era art auction board game which features famous paintings from all the greats.  (Don’t click that link unless you’re my mother. Really. I only put that in there for her.  It’s a guy on youtube explaining – very seriously – the difference between the 70s version of the game and the 80s version of the game.)

It’s hands-down the most pretentious game ever – but i think it’s supposed to be. When an 11 and a 7 yr old play it, it’s alternating between excruciating and hysterical.

My favorite moments are when the boys discuss the art.

Jan Steen’s The Family Concert.  No one ever wants to bid on this because there’s a rat-like animal in the painting if you look very closely. That’s a dealbreaker. These boys don’t bid on rat art. If you have the rat painting, too bad, you are stuck with it for the rest of the game.

St John the Baptist, by Velazquez. Ethan-11yr’s very serious take on this piece of art: “I always thought of John the Baptist as more… clothed.

The Circus Rider,  Marc Chagall. Sorry, Chagall, but Caden-7yr canNOT excuse the fact that the cupid’s bottom is clearly visible. That’s just inappropriate. (It’s demure considering some of your other works, but still.)

Dancers in the Wings, Degas. Ethan-11yr pointed out that it only looks like different ballerinas, but it’s really just Degas’ wife in different poses. Caden-7yr doesn’t care. It’s ballerinas, so he isn’t bidding.

American Gothic, Grant Wood. Maybe it’s the stern expressions on their faces. Or the pitchfork. But Seth-5yr really, really hates this painting.

This oh-so interesting game is made slightly better by the fact that two of the paintings will be forgeries and you don’t want to be stuck with them. Caden-7yr can’t remember that word, though, and will ask, “Is that a fargo? Yes… I think that’s a fargo.”

The low moments in this game come about when they argue or make bizarre financial decisions, unethical trades,  or just outright lie to each other regarding the value of their art and then get all dramatic and worked up over it.  During one of these times, my mother sternly said, “If you can’t have good clean fun, then this game is over.”

And I thoroughly undermined her by giggling into a pillow and saying, “Yeah! If you can’t have good clean fun playing a 1970s art auction game, then when can ya?”

But it really doesn’t matter, because we are so done with that game. Mom and I really hate Masterpiece. We’ve tried. And by that, I mean, she’s tried and I’ve sat in the same room and laughed and refused to be involved in any other way. Mom is putting it away somewhere, and we’re thinking maybe we’ll get it out again in five years.

Or not.



9 Comments on “John The Baptist’s Questionable Wardrobe Choices. And Other Such Stuff.”

August 19th, 2011
8:35 pm

Oh my gosh! My parents had that game! I LOVED it!!! I guess I was geeky even back in the 70s. My favorites were American Gothic, and La Toilette, and Van Gogh’s Self Portrait. (I liked that one especially because my mom said it looked like her dad who I never got to know because he died before I was born.) I was always so disappointed when something like the Picasso (gray splotches? – I so didn’t get it) would end up being the $1,000,000 painting. And I loved the box cover with all the snooty-looking people at the auction. I would BEG my parents to play this game. Good lord, no wonder the kids at school hated me – I was such a geek! :D
Geekwif recently posted..The Professor and the Madman

August 20th, 2011
10:00 am

That’s funny. I don’t remember the game though….thank goodness I am a little too young. Not by much though.

August 20th, 2011
1:35 pm

One of our favorite family memories is sitting in front of the fireplace on winter Sunday afternoons, playing games like this. Our kids remember every game we ever played.
Jan recently posted..Chihuahuas Are Like Potato Chips

August 20th, 2011
2:49 pm

Geekwif, please let us know if you would like to have our Masterpiece game. It would be great to know someone is enjoying it. I found a great substitute for it at an estate sale today – sound effects from radio shows.
Really, we would love to send Mp to you.

August 21st, 2011
11:19 am

I love the boys’ commentary on and reactions to the art. That is awesome. We should all go to an art museum next time y’all are in town.

Am very entertained that this game may find a new home with Geekwif. That is AWESOME.

August 21st, 2011
1:01 pm

The kids at school could not POSSIBLY have hated you?! You’re the online friend I’ve had the longest that I haven’t met that I’ve always wanted to. So That settles that in some weird way. Also, I love my mom’s idea to send you this game. You would appreciate it in a way that we do not. (although I prob WOULD like playing with you and my mom. but not my children.) Pl send me your address and you can surprise the Geek with a really weird Game Night idea!

enjoy your youth. my laugh lines are slightly annoyed with you right now.
: )

how nice! I bet mine will remember this one too… but I’d rather move on to a game that brings out the best in them… or at least not the worst. you know?

fabulous idea. i’m… less than optimistic about the ‘replacement’ game. but i like the novelty.

uh…. well. you can take them if you’d like! have fun with that! I’ll tell them to behave for Lala and then send them off into the art museum with you to enjoy.

August 21st, 2011
9:12 pm

Seriously, J-Mom?!! That is the sweetest offer!! I would love to give Masterpiece a good home. My Geek’s family loves games just like mine does, so it will definitely be played and loved here. Thank you so much!

Kelsey, I was mostly either ignored or hated by kids at school. I preferred ignored. I was a geeky, shy little thing. I’m okay with being geeky now, seeing as how I found myself a geeky guy to share my geekiness with. :) I’ll email you.
Geekwif recently posted..The Professor and the Madman

August 21st, 2011
9:34 pm

I’m with Seth on American Gothic. Who would be compelled to take the time to paint something like that? Very uninspiring…

And let’s face it, John the Baptist could have been a lot worse.

Good thing your mom stepped in with some good wisdom… mother knows best. : )
Linda recently posted..Snapped!

April 3rd, 2016
6:00 pm

Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this info.
Sue recently posted..Sue

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