Why is this photo recreating the Baroque?

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A snapshot of a basketball game went viral this week, as social media users compared it with masterpieces in art history. Kelly Grovier asks why we are drawn to find those echoes.

Does a great painting have to be a painting? According to thousands of Twitter users this week, the answer is “no”. The debate began last Sunday when Frank Pallotta, an entertainment reporter for CNN, retweeted a photo taken by the sports journalist Carlos Gonzalez, along with the teasing assertion: “This is like a painting from the Renaissance”. Twitter was quick to respond.

The photo in question captures a moment in the final quarter of a professional basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves when James Harden, a Rockets guard, loses his balance and stumbles into the front row of fans gathered in Minnesota’s Target Center arena.

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