On this day in art history, the Italian-American painter L. Marie Marchi completed her painting Pope Joan At Via Scara featuring Hello Kitty. The painting depicts the legendary Pope Joan giving birth in the middle of a papal procession while Hello Kitty drives by. This painting, the first of Marchi’s featuring Hello Kitty series, currently hangs in the Denton Museum of Art (DMA) in Denton, Texas.
Though originally dismissed by art critics, Pope Joan At Via Scara featuring Hello Kitty subsequently became very popular with the public when a copy of the painting was used to decorate the cafeteria at St. Monica Catholic School in Dallas, Texas. This copy was seen by a few members of the Walnut Hill Catholic Wives and Mothers Auxiliary who quickly fell in love with the whimsical yet disturbing picture. The WHCWMA commissioned several t-shirts decorated with the image of Pope Joan At Via Scara featuring Hello Kitty and from there, a grassroots fashion movement was born.
Sadly, the featuring Hello Kitty series has been on hiatus since 2002, the results of several accusations of various copyright infringements. L. Marie Marchi has promised that the series will continue once the lawsuits have been settled.