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A famous art critic has recently been writing amazing essays on various paintings. The public loves these essays so much that each time the next essay is published, its painting skyrockets in fame, which leads to dramatically increased revenue for whatever gallery holds it. You work for a somewhat shady art gallery and have been tasked with finding out the subject of the critic's next essay, so that your gallery can trade for the painting while it's still not too exorbitant and then haul in the extra profits. You break into the critic's house but cannot find the name of any paintings. The critic is clearly very sneaky. You are about to call your boss and report your failure, when you see a series of images taped to the wall. After a moment of examination, you call your boss with the name of the painting. What is the painting to acquire?

Hint 1:

The first picture shows not just Ron, nor just the mirror, but Ron looking into a mirror. What rebus significance might that have?

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    $\begingroup$ Mirror moai oil crow dominoes? :P $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Apr 9 '15 at 0:17
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly! It's one of Picasso's lesser-known works! $\endgroup$ – Caleb Apr 9 '15 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ Erised Easter oilwell raven domino? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Apr 9 '15 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not close to a full answer, but 'stone' might be relevant (domino stones, stone statues, and first might be harry potter and the sorcerer's stone). $\endgroup$ – Tim Couwelier Apr 9 '15 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ Is the oil and crow ment to be combine cause they are next to each other ? $\endgroup$ – Sven van den Boogaart Apr 9 '15 at 13:50
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My answer is:

"The Rookie" by Norman Rockwell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Norman_Rockwell_-_The_Rookie.jpg

My reasoning is:

The rebus encodes the words "Nor Man-Rock well rook IE"
1. RON in mirror becomes NOR
2. The Easterisland head is a MAN ROCK
3. The oil well is the WELL
4. The bird is a ROOK
5. Domino hints at Internet explorer and IE (Domino 8.5.3 Fix Pack 4 or Domino 9 supporting IE 10)

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  • $\begingroup$ I like your approach better than my earlier guess, but if you take my Domino-Pill-Ecstacy theory and use the street name "E" for step 5, it might work better. But then again, maybe not. It breaks otherwise perfect spelling. $\endgroup$ – Ayefork Apr 9 '15 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ You got it! Nice job! $\endgroup$ – Caleb Apr 9 '15 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Ayefork huh, I didn't even think about spelling when making this puzzle, just pronunciation, so it's somewhat surprising that the rest of the spelling holds up! $\endgroup$ – Caleb Apr 9 '15 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ Ha ha. I'm from Houston so I recognized the third picture as Spindletop and of course that makes the puzzle not work at all. $\endgroup$ – shoover Apr 9 '15 at 23:44
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I believe I would have my boss go acquire

Norman Rockwell's Freedom From Want

Overarching Rationale

First, a universal sort of clue. The pictures identifiable as so are horizontally flipped, or 'backwards' if you will. The Potter image should be obvious to most. The crow (more on this later) is facing the wrong direction. The oil well and Moai are further verifiable as horizontally flipped from their originals. I therefore choose to read the sequence of pictures from last to first.

Then

The dominoes are not. Look closely. They are actually pills. For those less familiar with street drugs, they are probably ecstasy (MDMA), also known as Molly.

Continuing..

The bird is a logo for an old card game called Rook. Combine that with the oil WELL. Rookwell, close enough to Rockwell for our purposes. Combining with the previous clue, we find Molly Rockwell. Nickname of the wife of Norman Rockwell.

The painting..

Skipping the Moai for just a moment. Consider The Mirror of Erised, in keeping with the backwards theme, shall be rendered desire. Desire is a synonym for 'Want'.

Hocus Pocus

I've got to be honest here, I'm not coming up with a lot of connection or compelling justification to link the Easter Island statues with 'Freedom From'. If I had chosen 'Triple Self-Portrait', I would have to accept a simpler explanation for mirror and somehow link Triple to the Moai, something I am not prepared to do. I'm less unhappy linking Easter, understood tenuously through the resurrection of Jesus and /freedom from/ sin. Anyway, I think all the other stuff is reasonably good.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 because this was close, and a solid guess. You were right about the MDMA, but the correct interpretation was E, as you said in your comment to Haobin's guess. I flipped the images to slow down reverse Google searching. Incorrect, but very nice work all the same. $\endgroup$ – Caleb Apr 9 '15 at 17:05
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I guess the answer may be:

"Starry Night Over the Rhone" a popular painting that was drawn in September 1888 by an expressionist artist, Vincent van Gogh.

Reasons are:
- Harry's friend's name is Ron, which sounds like Rhone
- Both Moai and Vincent van Gogh belong to 20th century
- The painting is done in an Oil canvas
- Crow is to resemble the color of night
- The stars look like the domino holes

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  • $\begingroup$ Harry's friend name is Rhone. Both Moai and Vincent van Gogh belongs to 20th century. The painting is done in an Oil canvas. crow is to resemble the color of night. The stars look like the domino holes. $\endgroup$ – Jegannath Apr 9 '15 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ I think so.. Not sure. $\endgroup$ – Jegannath Apr 9 '15 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ I think the Ron part is not so solid. Why choose that Erised scene instead of any old picture of Ron? $\endgroup$ – BCLC Apr 9 '15 at 15:08
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My guess is:

La Parade by Georges Seurat

And my reasoning is as follows:

Ron is looking into a mirror so the answer should be a self-portrait

Easter Island statues mean the self-portrait should be of the head and shoulders (Also, George Seurat painted A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte and Easter always falls on a Sunday and Easter Island has a huge bowl (La Grande Jatte) at the south end)

The oil well means it should be an oil painting

The crow I can't quite figure but the name Georges means farmer and farmers have to deal with crows

The dominoes indicate that the painting should be in the style of pointillism

If this isn't it, it may be some different ideas of what each piece means and that could help someone else.

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My guess is

Rene Magritte's painting 'The false mirror'

Reasons:

Ron and Harry are looking into the mirror of Erised. The mirror shows you what you want to see and not what is necessarily real. So it can be interpreted as a false mirror. Easter island is also known as 'Mata ki the rangi', which means "Eyes looking to the sky" (source: Wikipedia). The painting 'The false mirror' has an eye looking at the sky. The oil well can be tied to the fact that the painting is oil on canvas. I am not sure though how the crow/raven and the dominoes tie into this though.

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My Guess

Arnolfini Portrait

The mirror

The mirror is a very obvious detail in the painting with a very detailed reflection (might refer to the 1st hint).

Oil

Oil might refer to the fact is an oil canvas.

Easter Island

The small medallions set into the frame of the convex mirror at the back of the room show tiny scenes from the Passion of Christ and may represent God's promise of salvation for the figures reflected on the mirror's convex surface. Furthering the Memorial theory, all the scenes on the wife's side are of Christ's death and resurrection. Those on the husband's side concern Christ's life. The mirror itself may represent the eye of God observing the vows of the wedding. A spotless mirror was also an established symbol of Mary, referring to the Holy Virgin's immaculate conception and purity.The mirror reflects two figures in the doorway, one of whom may be the painter himself. In Panofsky's controversial view, the figures are shown to prove that the two witnesses required to make a wedding legal were present, and Van Eyck's signature on the wall acts as some form of actual documentation of an event at which he was himself present. The Passion is commemorated in Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Saturday.

Not sure about the crow and domino though.

The crow might refer to death or the fact that theres an animal in the painting. dominos to a sequence

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