The reinterpretation by an artificial intelligence of The Girl with the pearl is scandalous

The reinterpretation by an artificial intelligence of The Girl with the pearl is scandalous

The Girl with a Pearl Earring imagined by Julian van Dieken using AI. Instagram screenshot / Julian van Dieken

Exhibited at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, a reinterpretation of The Girl with a Pearl Earring carried out by an AI causes a scandal in the Netherlands.

Lovers of The Girl with a Pearl Earring did not appreciate a version revisited by an artificial intelligence and exhibited on the picture rails of the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague. In the absence of its star painting, the museum has launched a call for original projects to dress the room where Vermeer’s paintings usually take pride of place. The painting was lent by the Mauritshuis Museum to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for an exhibition which brings together a large number of paintings by the Dutch master. To make up for its absence, the institution of The Hague has therefore offered to anyone who wants to “create your own “Girl” inspired by Vermeer’s masterpiece.“The selected artists will have”a chance to be displayed in a digital frame in the usual place of the painting“.

The initiative has attracted many budding artists. According to the Dutch museum, 3482 proposals were received and 170 were selected. These works inspired by The Girl with a Pearl Earring follow one another in place of Vermeer’s painting and a dedicated Instagram account has been created. Of all these creations, the Mauritshuis Museum has chosen five. Printed, these were hung on the walls of the museum. But that of Julian van Dieken was not unanimous.

To create his photorealistic work, the artist used Midjourney and Photoshop. Both software use theartificial intelligence. Julian van Dieken posted the image on his own Instagram account. Under the publication, he explains having “submitted my version, which was not created for the contest but for my Instagram account. It was created with Midjourney and Photoshop“.

Seduced by this interpretation, the Mauritshuis Museum selected the work of Julian van Dieken, hung it on its picture rails and shared the image on Instagram. The public of the museum absolutely did not adhere and the Dutch institution received had to face the comments of scandalized Internet users.

“A shame”

What a shame, what an incredible insult“, writes a user. “You don’t support artists when you post stolen images (the ones generated by AI): every day we see new people accepting AI as if it were someone who had been working for 20 years to improvesaid another comment. The latter refers to copyright. The images generated by theartificial intelligence are powered by millions of images and these are not necessarily copyright free.

Most of the comments are negative and accuse the museum of having promoted the work of Julian van Dieken. “You cannot be trusted to care for the legacy of mankind», said a user. “The “prompters” [ceux qui créent sur les logiciels d’IA] are not artists (…), all their images are plagiarism.”

For its part, the museum reacted to the request of a Dutch newspaper. “We just watched what we liked. Is it creative? This is a difficult question“explains the spokesperson. The museum admits that it did not take ethical issues related to AI into account when selecting the works. The artist claims to have been “transparent about the method: in the publication that served as my application (…) I explain why I think AI can change creative processes“.

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