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Girl with AI earrings sparks Dutch artwork controversy

At first look it appears to be only a trendy tackle Johannes Vermeer’s masterpiece “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. But look extra carefully and issues get a little bit unusual.

Firstly, there are two glowing earrings within the picture hanging within the Mauritshuis museum within the Dutch metropolis of The Hague. And aren’t these freckles on her face really… a barely inhuman shade of purple?

That’s as a result of the work—considered one of a number of fan recreations changing the 1665 authentic whereas it is on mortgage for an enormous Vermeer present at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum—was made utilizing (AI).

Its presence has sparked a fierce debate, with questions over whether or not it belongs within the hallowed halls of the Mauritshuis—and whether or not it ought to be classed as artwork in any respect.

“It’s controversial, so people are for it or against it,” Mauritshuis press officer Boris de Munnick instructed AFP.

“The people who selected this, they liked it, they knew that it was AI, but we liked the creation. So we chose it, and we hung it.”


Berlin-based digital creator Julian van Dieken submitted the picture after the Mauritshuis requested individuals to ship of their variations of the well-known portray for an set up known as “My Girl with a Pearl”.

Van Dieken mentioned he had used the AI device Midjourney—which might generate complicated photos on the premise of a immediate, utilizing thousands and thousands of pictures from the web—and Photoshop.

The Mauritshuis then selected it as considered one of 5 pictures out of three,482 submitted by followers that might be printed and bodily hung within the room the place “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is often housed.

“It’s surreal to see it in a museum,” van Dieken wrote on Instagram.

The budding artists ranged in age from three to 94, depicting the “Girl” in various kinds starting from a puppet to a dinosaur and a chunk of fruit.

But the choice to decide on an AI-generated picture sparked a backlash.

Dutch artist Iris Compiet mentioned on the Instagram feed for the Mauritshuis exhibition that it was a “shame and an incredible insult”, and dozens of others piled in.

“It’s an insult to the legacy of Vermeer and in addition to any working . Coming from a museum, it is an actual slap within the face,” Compiet instructed AFP.

She mentioned AI instruments breach the copyright of different artists through the use of their works as the bottom for artificially generated pictures, in addition to scraping the information of web customers normally.

The picture itself she described as “almost Frankensteinish”.

Artist Eva Toorenent, of the European Guild for Artificial Intelligence Regulation, criticised what she known as the “unethical technology”.

“Without the work of human artists, this program could not generate works at all,” she was quoted as saying by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

‘What is artwork?’

“It’s such a difficult question—what is art, and what is not art?” mentioned the Mauritshuis’s de Munnick.

But he insisted that the museum, whose assortment boasts three Vermeers and almost a dozen Rembrandts, had not intentionally got down to make a creative assertion on AI.

“Our opinion is, we think it’s a nice picture, we think it’s a creative process,” he mentioned. “We’re not the museum to debate if AI belongs in an artwork .”

He admitted although that “up close, you see that the freckles are a little spooky.”

Visitors to the Mauritshuis have been equally divided, he added.

“Younger people tend to say, it’s artificial intelligence, what’s new. Elderly people sometimes say we like the more traditional paintings.”

The Mauritshuis was wanting ahead to the return of the true “Girl” in April, he added. The portray’s fame has elevated lately resulting from a 1999 novel by US creator Tracy Chevalier and an ensuing Hollywood movie.

“Well, she is beautiful in the (Rijksmuseum) exhibition… But we will be very happy when she is at home.”

© 2023 AFP

Girl with AI earrings sparks Dutch artwork controversy (2023, March 10)
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