Hail Gundam full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Located in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, the National Museum of Western Art houses one of the finest collections of foreign paintings in Japan. Among the works in its permanent collection is this piece from French painter George Desvallières.

Desvallières’ 1912 The Visitation depicts the visit of the Virgin Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, to her relative Elizabeth. A significant moment in Christianity, rendered by Desvallières in oil on canvas, The Visitation is steeped in Western theology and artistic traditions…and yet, Twitter user @iracco sees something very Japanese in it.

“When I look at this painting at the National Museum of Western Art from far away, I can’t help but see Gundam.”

Realizing that not everyone would share his interpretation (after all, Desvallières’ painting precedes the first Gundam anime by more than six decades), @iracco tweeted an enhanced version of the painting, altered to show what he sees when he looks at it.

The figures of Mary and Elizabeth form the legs of the famous mecha, with their billowy clothing now becoming plates of armor, while the wispy clouds above their heads make up the cocked arms and hunched shoulders of the robot, ready to leap into action.

Of course, the beauty of truly great art is how it lends itself to multiple interpretations, and other Twitter users offered their takes on the anime symbolism contained in The Visitation.

▼ The original RX-78 Gundam, in profile

▼ The battle-damaged, half-shrouded Gundam Exia Repair, from Gundam 00

Ace pilot/archvillain Char’s Z’Gok beating up a GM grunt

Some even saw robots from outside the Gundam franchise, such as Aura Battler Dunbine’s Sirbine…

…or recurring video game WMD Metal Gear.

And finally, in one last bit of global artistic forces wrapping around each other, it turns out that the specific Gundam version that @iracco sees in the painting is 1999’s Turn A Gundam

…which was designed by American artist Syd Mead, so even if you’re of the opinion that the The Visitation is showing a Gundam, it could still qualify as “Western art.”

Source: Twitter/@iracco via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@iracco