‘King Philip IV’ Stages Unauthorized Autograph Signing in Improv Everywhere Stunt

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Usually, the subjects of Renaissance paintings don’t appear live in person to sign autographs at the Met.

But one afternoon at New York City’s Museum of Metropolitan Art, it appeared that King Philip IV of Spain rose from the dead for a meet and greet in front of his recently restored portrait.

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The spectacle was business as usual for the┬ámischievous folks of Improv Everywhere , a┬áself-described “prank collective” that’s famous for its bigger stunts like the yearly No Pants Subway Ride and the Grand Central Freeze.

The scene, which centered around an actor who bears an uncanny resemblance to the deceased Spanish ruler, caused a bit of playful confusion in the galleries of the Met when an important-looking man made an announcement that King Philip was signing autographs in honor of the recent restoration of his portrait. Many people took the bait, if only for fun, and even posed for photos with him.

The guards at the Met, however, found the stunt less amusing, and asked the team if they had permission to be there, to which they replied that they did not. But before being escorted out, it’s still hilarious to watch one of the guards’ confusion as he asks, “He’s the real king? Really? Then how old is he?” To which his pseudo-spokesperson replies nonchalantly, “He’s 400 years old.”

While the stunt lasted for only a few minutes, Improv Everywhere has proven once again that spectacles don’t need to come in flash mob proportions.

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