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400-year old King Philip IV of Spain gives autographs at the Met

March 7, 2011 | 12:10 pm

Known best for its annual No Pants Subway Ride, New York-based Improv Everywhere took a step into the high art world recently when the group arranged for King Philip IV of Spain to give autographs next to his newly restored and authenticated portrait at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Philip's appearance will shock many in the art world who had accepted as fact that the king died in 1665 but is likely to delight both conspiracy theorists and those who are sure the fountain of youth exists but just need some proof.

The portrait was painted by Diego Velázquez in 1623 and has been in the museum's collection since 1914.

Improv Everywhere didn't have permission from the Met to do this, but the participants weren't breaking any rules either. They even made sure Philip signed his autographs in pencil so as not to violate the museum's no marker policy. Watch how the mission went down. More photographs and commentary are here.

This is not the first time a prank has been carried out at an art museum. In 1971, New York artist Harvey Stromberg created his own exhibition at MOMA without the museum knowing about it. At one point, Stromberg was showing nearly 300 pieces

If you know of any other art pranks, please let us know in the comments.

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