Someone who lived in the idyllic town of Mayberry had great taste in art. And that someone was the town Sherrif. Next time you catch an episode of the Andy Griffith Show, get a good look at the painting above Andy’s mantle. The artwork was created by a famous painter and it has an interesting backstory.
Andy Taylor owned a piece titled The Angelus. And it was made by the French artist Jean-François Millet. In the oil painting, a young peasant couple is standing in a potato field while they bow their heads in prayer. They’re standing in front of a beautiful sunset, which gives the artwork a golden hue. The man and woman appear to be done working in the fields for the day. And they’ve stuck their pitchfork in the ground. The two are looking at a small basket filled with potatoes, and they’re grateful for the harvest. In the far distance, a church is visible on the horizon giving the work a religious touch.
The painting dates back to the 19th century. And now it’s on display at the renowned Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
Despite his talents, Jean-François Millet was a typical starving artist. And his poverty may have inspired his artwork. When he sold The Angelus, he only made about $100. Then fifteen years after his death, the painting was re-sold for $150,000. As of today, the treasured piece would likely sell for millions.
Sherrif Taylor did not own the original artwork. Even police officers in Mayberry weren’t that rich. But it no doubt proves that the show had more culture than we knew.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Paining Title ‘The Angelus’ Terrified a Young Salvador Dali
Because of its religious depiction, The Angelus was a popular piece among Catholics in the early 1900s. So it was common to find Millet’s reproductions hanging in homes, churches, and businesses. And when the world-famous artist was a child, the painting was on display in his schoolroom. But unlike most people, he was not impressed by the artwork. Instead, it scared him.
It’s ironic that The Angelus made Dali feel uneasy because he went on to create work that is considered far more strange than two peasants in a potato field. But art means something different to everyone. And when Dali looked at The Angelus, he saw a funeral. He was also certain that the potato-filled basked actually had a dead baby inside. And there was no convincing him otherwise.
Then decades later, when Dali was a successful surrealist, he wanted proof that his grim intuition about the famed painting was right. So he asked the Louvre to take X-rays of The Angelus, which of course it did because who would say no to Salvador Dali?
And when experts examined the painting, they found an image under layers of paint that resembled a coffin. The shape was right under the praying couple’s feet. So Salvador Dali really did have an eye for art because he literally saw right through The Angelus when he was only a kid.