The Artists Secret Society was first founded in 1415 in a bar in Florence, Italy by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi and the painter and sculptor Donattello after discovering they had both been shorted on commissioned work by Cosimo the Elder, founder of the Medici dynasty and a well-known skinflint.
Languishing for many years due to the active opposition of the Medici’s, the organization reached its nadir in 1497 when it was hoodwinked by Girolamo Savonarola, the Dominican priest and leader of Florence, into sponsoring a weenie roast that turned into the Bonfire of the Vanities where many of their paintings were burned.
Remaining dormant and serving as little more than an excuse for artists to get out of the house every once in a while, the organization was reconstituted by the Dutch painter Rembrandt in 1632 after he was asked by a client to repaint a portion of the great masterpiece The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp to “match the couch”.
Along with Johannes Vermeer, with whom Rembrandt shared a fondness for chocolate bunnies, bowling, and conspiracy theories, a doctrine was established that sought to define a new paradigm for secret societies. Bannished was the concept of using mere symbols and rituals to control and dominate others through claims of exclusive knowledge as has been seen in organizations as disparate as the Freemasons, the Rosicrucian Order, Skull and Bones, or the Brotherhood of Death.
Instead, artists would band together as “worshippers of the imagination” whose immense creative power to achieve fascinating artistic visions would change the way humanity viewed its own existential realities (whether they liked it or not).
Today as a result of the natural evolution of this philosophical doctrine, under the leadership of the Artists Secret Society now headquartered on the East End of Long Island, the creative community is as influential as at any time in recorded history. Under the direction of David Gamble and Eric Ernst, the organization’s various covert and mysterial programs continue to enhance the status of artists in all mediums, furthering the growth of new global cultures as the next generation continues to be subtly encoded with the esoteric rituals and humanistic priorities of the A.S.S.