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Willem Dafoe Looking Up, also known as Vincent van Gogh Looking Up, is a scene from the 2018 biopic At Eternity's Gate in which Vincent van Gogh, played by Willem Dafoe, looks up at the sky with an overwhelmed expression. The scene has been widely used as a GIF and image caption format online, typically in a literal sense to portray the meme's subject looking at something above them.


On September 5th, 2018, a trailer for the biographical drama film At Eternity's Gate about the painter Vincent van Gogh premiered.[1] In one scene in the trailer, van Gogh, portrayed by actor Willem Dafoe, looks up at the sky, seemingly overwhelmed (1:29 mark, shown below).

The scene first gained initial virality as a GIF caption template on iFunny in May 2023. While the exact first meme using the GIF is unknown, the two earliest found memes based on it were made by iFunny[2] user Lordtard (on May 22nd, 2023, shown below, left) and another unknown user, with the second GIF (made before May 28th), which referenced the "Sandy Cheek's C--k Vore" image, going viral on the app through multiple reposts[3][4] (shown below, right).

Anprims when they make a fashwave Ted Kaczynski quote but they need to use electronic music
The citizens of Bikini Bottom watching Sandy sucks up another car with her giantess futa c---


On June 19th, 2023, iFunny[4] users ironically reposted the Sandy Cheeks GIF caption, with the posts gaining over 2,800 smiles in two years. On July 2nd, iFunny[5] user Paddyv62 posted a GIF caption that gained over 940 likes in two years (shown below, left). Prior to July 10th, 2023, an unknown user made a GIF caption about Paganism (shown below, center), with Twitter[6] gimmick account @WeirdestMp4s reposting it on that day. The post gained over 960 reactions and 6,100 likes in one day. On July 28th, iFunny[7] user Excrement posted a GIF caption about the Three Gorges Dam that received over 4,500 smiles in two years (shown below, right).

A 7 year old iranian kid watching the LGBTQ+ BLM drone blow up his village
Pagans when they mess up their rain dance and it starts raining c--
Chinese citizens near the Yangtze river when a gigantic LiveLeak logo appears in the sky

On December 31st, 2023, Redditor[8] n1GG99 posted a GIF caption that gained over 42,400 upvotes in /r/memes in two years.

The format did not achieve viral status until May 2023, when on May 3rd, 2023, iFunny[9] user posted a meme captioned, "muslims in Antarctica waiting for the sun to set so they can eat" (authorship unconfirmed; shown below).

muslims in antarctica waiting for the sun to set so they can eat

In the following days, the image received viral spread through reposts. For example, on May 6th, 2023, Instagram[10] page willrepostmemes reposted the image, with the post garnering over 5,500 likes. On the same day, it was reposted[11] to the /r/exmuslim subreddit, where it gained over 2,000 upvotes in six months.

Following the viral spread of the meme, the format achieved significant popularity online in the second half of 2023, peaking in popularity in December 2023 following the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home as Willem Dafoe trended online during that period.

Various Examples

Mexicans watching the filter change as they cross over the border
British People on the First Day Without Clouds in 86 Years Trying to Figure Out What That Bright Yellow Thing is
NPCS watching helpless as the main character selects the "wait till night time" option and f---- up Earth's entire rotation

Green Goblin standing under Sandman as his 12 foot d--- forms
me watching my little brother on the roof after telling him the cardboard wings will make him fly
My psychiatrist reviewing his notes after listening to me speak for 12 minutes u/ThatDoggNate


Search Interest

External References

[1] YouTube – AT ETERNITY'S GATE – Official Trailer – HD

[2] iFunny – Lordtard

[3] iFunny – Drood

[4] iFunny – ironicallyy

[5] iFunny – Paddyv62

[6] Twitter – @WeirdestMp4s

[7] iFunny – Excrement

[8] Reddit – Happy new year, guys

[9] iFunny – fumos

[10] Instagram – willrepostmemes

[11] Reddit – Rip to my brozzers in antarctica

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