What to do at home - become your own Italian masterpiece

Getty Museum asked people to recreate classic artworks and they certainly did not disappoint

The Astronomer by Vermeer

What is an art enthusiast to do, now that galleries and museums worldwide have closed their doors to vistors? The world-famous J. Paul Getty Museum, based in Los Angeles, has a suggestion: recreate famous works of art using household items. And the results are simply marvelous. 

The museum issued the challenge to its Twitter followers exactly one week ago:

"We challenge you to recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home," tweeted the museum, followed by instructions for the project. "Choose your favorite artwork. Find three things lying around your house. Recreate the artwork with those items. And share with us."

The museum also included a link to their collection of artwork - and "inspiration" for others' recreations, courtesy of museum staff. As seen from the photos, the museum's employees went above and beyond with their efforts. One employee, for example, recreated the piece "Portrait of a Halberdier (Francesco Guardi?)" by Italian artist Pontormo, also known as Jacopo Carucci, using a field hockey stick instead of a battle weapon. Another person utilized cans of tuna and a block of cheese to imitate an18th century still life by French artist Jean-Siméon Chardin. 

The responses then have ranged from the hilarious to the impressive, with recreated artworks including classics such as Master of Saint Cecilia’s Madonna and Child, the anonymously created Virgin, Saint Elizabeth, and the Infants John the Baptist and Christ; as well as modern works such as Helen Frankenthaler’s Mirabelle – now featuring strategic but perhaps inadvisable use of that precious commodity, toilet paper. One Twitter user even took an abstract take on the famous piece "The Scream" by Edvard Munch - utilizing several household items to make a sculpture of sorts. 

The Getty museum, however, is not the first to suggest whiling away self-isolation with ad hoc art experiments. Its tweet was predated by a few days by an Instagram account, @covidclassics, created by “four roommates who love art … and are indefinitely quarantined”. Over the course of a week, the roommates, based in the US, have been recreating classic works of art and sharing them on social media. The recreations, which began with Jacques-Louis David’s The Death of Marat, eventually have become progressively more detailed and adventurous.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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