Never underestimate human ingenuity, especially when they’re bored in the house with nothing to do.
We all have ways of killing boredom while we’re all cooped up at home and practicing social distancing. Some have, apparently—with a ton of craftiness and just a touch of stir-craziness—resorted to mimicking fine art with photographs. People do this by using clothes and props around the house and posing just so to copy the color sense and composition of classical paintings. The results are parodic but picture-perfect tributes to fine art, rendered in the resolution of your average smartphone camera.
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It started with J. Paul Getty Museum challenging people with the prompt, and then the fad just snowballed from there. If you’re in the mood to go through a museum-quality tour from the comfort of your home, give the hashtag #CovidClassics a gander on Twitter.
There’s something delightful about seeing average folk copying the work of the old masters with Fibonacci sequence precision. How about that lady who used her braids to copy Caravaggio’s beheaded Medusa? Or that guy who just happened to have the same pipe and furry hat as Van Gogh in that one self-portrait? Whether it’s renaissance, baroque, or neoclassical, nobody’s safe.
It’s interesting to see how this fad resonates with other Internet Things, both new and current, that engage with art in an interesting way. There’s this AI artist called AI Gahaku that, much like an Instagram filter, scans your face, and makes it looks like it was perceived with actual brush strokes. There’s also the absolute genius behind Low Cost Cosplay, who’s hilariously low effort DIY work absolutely nails any TV show, movie or meme screenshot he wants to mimic. And there’s something to be said about photographer and stylist Jeline Catt’s hot take on the parallels between quarantine nudes and the renaissance.
In any case, we’re here for it. If you’re in the mood to give #CovidClassics an honest go, just remember anything is possible. Even Hieronymous freakin’ Bosch.