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People are re-creating famous artworks with their pets and whatever else is lying around


Madonna and Child by Master of St. Cecilia and a recreation sent to The Getty Collection by Facebook user Larissa. (Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program)

The art world has gotten online since the coronavirus pandemic devastated everyday life. With museums closed for now, institutions have launched virtual tours and live streams for us to enjoy while we wait for a return to normalcy.

But we reached a new level of art appreciation this week when the Getty Museum challenged the Internet to browse its online collection and re-create works of art at home.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users rose to the challenge valiantly, using their self-quarantined inventory to whip together bootleg artwork. No household object, or tenant, was spared in the process. Pets, children, cans of tuna, toilet paper and bonsai trees are just some of the tools used to make this magic.

Behold some of our favorites.

“Portrait of a Halberdier”

The halberdier (a.k.a. a man armed with a halberd, an old-timey, two-handed pole weapon, for the record) who is in Italian artist Jacopo da Pontormo’s portrait looks strikingly similar to Paul Dano, but that’s not the point. What’s more important is the submission from Twitter user Jeff Johnson of a girl posing exactly like the featured halberdier. She’s got the red hat, red pants, same blasé expression. Instead of a sword, she has some sort of snake cane. In our opinion, even better.

“The Scream”

It feels like a good time to revisit expressionist artist Edvard Munch’s 1893 work “The Scream.” A masterpiece known for its portrayal of anxiety, its star subject shrieks alone in nature, which seems more relatable now than ever as we practice social distancing.

Twitter user TheBee ingeniously re-engineered “The Scream” with toy cars, boxes of tikka masala, oven mitts, a wooden house figurine, red shoes and some clothes.

“The Laundress”

According to her Instagram account, actress Elizabeth Ariza hasn’t just emulated one piece of art for the challenge, but 12, and they all feature her children. The family’s rendition of “The Laundress” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze landed a spot on the Getty’s blog (however, her son and daughter acting out Paul Cézanne’s “Kiss of the Muse” deserves an honorable mention).

Madonna and Child

There are endless versions of the Madonna and Child, but none like participant Larisa’s quarantine version. What makes this Madonna and Child is particularly spectacular is how the featured French bulldog captures the same cherub-like yearning for the Madonna as in the work. Art scholars are likely to debate for years to come how she got the dog to pose perfectly as baby Jesus.

“Portrait of Sylvia von Harden”

Cocktail? Check. Cigarettes? Check. An expression that simultaneously reeks boredom and disgust? Check. A pants-less Twitter user, @thisisfisk, presented this portrait by Otto Dix. Posing at an outdoor table before a vibrant red backdrop, our hero’s boxer briefs peek from his buffalo plaid shirt, emulating Sylvia’s turtleneck dress. The re-creation gets a 10/10.

“The Creation of Adam”

Michelangelo really outdid himself with “The Creation of Adam” on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The person behind the rescue dog Instagram account of Peggy, Flossie and Norman really outdid themselves with their interpretation on the floor of their house. Norm (A THREE-LEGGED DOG, BY THE WAY) plays Adam while Floss takes on the role of God, surrounded by toys.

“Imaginary Insect, Tulip, Spider, and Common Pear”

Lasagna. As. Script. The word “genius” gets thrown around a lot in the art world, but Christian Martinez and his daughter Bella deserve the title and then some for their take on an illustration from the 1500s. Who needs watercolors and when you have a tomato, pasta, eggs, matches, plants and a paper bag at hand?

“Self-Portrait, Yawning”

Joseph Ducreux’s “Self-Portrait, Yawning” is one of those paintings that you can really relate to at a museum. Who hasn’t done a big leaning stretch like the one depicted in this 1783 masterpiece? Los Angeles-based artist Paul Morris donned a similar red coat and towel to mimic Ducreux’s big mood. This isn’t the first time Ducreux’s art has ended up in pop culture. His self-portrait has been a meme for years.

Read more:

The best movies to transport you to another place during your quarantine

What our City Guide writers are doing, cooking and watching during the pandemic

The completely correct guide to vacationing at home

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