Life imitating art: Quarantined people remix famous paintings with household items

Life imitating art: Quarantined people remix famous paintings with household items
Credit: Getty Museum/Twitter

As everyone tries to distract themselves from the awfulness of the world, a clever social media campaign has sparked a new interest in art — or, at least, in imitating art with common household items. It’s exactly as goofy as it sounds, and provides a much-needed jolt of levity — and I guarantee you’ll not look at your favorite paintings the same way again.

Several countries around the world have urged citizens to remain indoors and forgo direct human contact except where necessary. The J. Paul Getty Museum, perhaps rightly seeing its moment to strike a blow for art appreciation, challenged the internet to recreate famous works of art with three objects in their homes. And considering a large portion of the world is stuck indoors with literally nothing else to do, they rose to the occasion.

The original idea came from the Instagram account Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine, where you can find dozens of such recreations. The Getty acknowledged the inspiration in a subsequent Instagram post.

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We challenged you to dig into Getty's online collections and re-create artworks with objects at home, inspired by the Instagram account @tussenkunstenquarantaine aka "Between Art and Quarantine," and boy did you deliver. Swipe to see just a few of the thousands of genius re-creations. Some tips for you if you haven't taken on the challenge yet: . 1️⃣ Enlist a pet: Get your dogs, cats, bunnies, and even ferrets into the mix. 2️⃣ Make a face, strike a pose: If you’re interested in re-creating a portrait or group scene, pay attention to the facial expressions—they really make it. 3️⃣ Pay attention to lighting: Try to imagine where the light in the artwork is coming from, and orient your composition so a window or lamp is casting similar light onto the scene. 4️⃣ Think abstractly: If you’re having trouble re-creating an artwork’s appearance, try focusing on shapes over colors. 5️⃣ Make it snackable: Edible art counts too. Photograph it, then eat it! . Tag us @gettymuseum and share your creation with the world using #betweenartandquarantine and #tussenkunstenquarataine. Keep them coming, creative geniuses. 👏

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You can find the many, many recreations on social media under various hashtags: #GettyMuseumChallenge or #BetweenArtandQuarantine are the most common. Considering the only thing most of these challengers have at their disposal is their own clothes and household items, a lot of these recreations are actually not bad. I noticed a tendency for everyone to incorporate their pets, which I’m absolutely not complaining about. I never knew I needed a dog recreation of Girl with a Pearl Earring, but I’m so glad I’ve got it now.

The Getty has reposted the most promising images for your perusal, so if you need a laugh (I wouldn’t blame you) and a glimpse into the ingenuity of truly bored people, then check its Twitter. My favorite out of all of them is the recreation of Edward Burne-Jones’  Temperantia, in which a lady puts out a fire of passion with a vase of water — only in this case the salve is precious, precious toilet paper. (And wow, put that on the list of sentences I never, ever thought I’d write.)

In addition to the challenge, the Getty’s halls are available for a virtual tour via Google Arts & Culture, meaning you can see the (non-household item) artwork on display from the comfort of home, if the recreations aren’t to your taste.

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If you needed something a little light and fluffy to distract you for a few moments from the COVID-19 outbreak, you couldn’t really ask for better.

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