The Getty Museum Wants You to Recreate Classic Works of Art

Recreation of Nicolaes Pickenoy's "Portrait of a Young Woman" by Bryan Beasley
Bryan Beasley's lovely wife, Coco, as Nicolaes Pickenoy's 'Portrait of a Young Woman' with a toilet paper collar
“My lovely wife, Coco, as Nicolaes Pickenoy’s ‘Portrait of a Young Woman’ with a toilet paper collar” – Photo credit: Bryan Beasley

If you are short on things to do during your period of quarantine, The Getty has a challenge for you. The Los Angeles Museum has been encouraging its isolated subscribers to take a break and recreate some of the classic works of art found in its online collection.

The Getty Project was partly inspired by the Instagram account Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine, which challenges its followers to select any work of art and, with the help of any three household items, recreate the look and share it online.

Not only has the project resulted in a slew of near-perfect attempts, covering the spectrum from detailed perfectionism to absurdist parody, but it is also providing viewers with an engaging art history lesson—at a perfect time. While staving off cabin fever, single men, large families, even dogs are filling in as painterly subjects for artists ranging from Vermeer to Van Gogh to Van Eyck.

There’s the modern-day, germ-obsessed housewife who dons a powdered wig made out of toilet rolls; the Jack Russell who stands in for the pitchfork-wielding farming subject in Grant Wood’s classic American Gothic; and, of course, the countless ladies (and gents) who threw caution (and their tweezers) to the wind to create the perfect uni-brown for their own Frida Kahlo self-portraits. Even the weakest attempts have demonstrated extreme creativity, given the trying times.

Think you’ve got what it takes to become the next Mona Lisa? Gather some of your best ideas, put on (or take off) your finest threads, and strike a pose. There’s nothing to it. Use the hashtag #gettymuseumchallenge or #betweenartandquarantine, and you may just see your work of art online.