Happy April Fools' Day! These two men were jesters, but their job was no joke. In 16th century Spain, entertaining a powerful man was a serious profession. If a king or important politician was happy, he made better decisions and the entire country benefited. Portraits like this one captured famous gags so that viewers would be reminded of a good joke.

This painting was featured in the DIA’s past exhibition "Hidden Treasures: An Experiment," and may be on view again next year. 

"Two Jesters," Unknown Artist, 1550–75, oil on panel. Detroit Institute of Arts