Monday, January 15, 2018

Using the Google Art and Culture app

So one of the latest viral crazes is the Google Art & Culture app. You can upload a selfie and it will search artwork throughout the world for portraits that match your picture. A friend and I tried it out. I had two decent results, I figured I'd post them here and learn a little more about the artwork.

This is my favourite of the two. I look similar to Dutch Sergeant-Major Karel van der Hoeven. I think it's mostly due to the moustache and goatee but I guess the hair is similar as well. Unfortunately there's not much to say about the painting, it's an early 17th-century Dutch painting but the artist is unknown. It is part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam so I guess the quality of the work is good. I've been to the museum but don't recall seeing the painting, if I'm ever back there I'll keep an eye out for it.

The other match is a bit more odd.

I see only a passing resemblance, and it looks like an older, angrier, scruffier me. I think the app focuses a lot on the facial hair when it does matches.

The painting is a self-portrait of the late 19th/early 20th-century Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida. During his time he was a well-respected artist known for landscapes (which he preferred doing) and portraits (which he wasn't as fond of doing but it paid the bills). He also had some popularity in America and a number of his paintings are in museums there.

I was not familiar with Sorolla but the Spanish clearly saw him as an important painter. This particular self-portrait is at the Sorolla Museum in Madrid, his old home was turned into a museum and most of his works are there.

His other self-portraits look even less like me though.

That was an interesting side trip to the art world, thanks Google.

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