Home Arts Online storm erupts over AI work in Dutch museum’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ exhibit

Online storm erupts over AI work in Dutch museum’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ exhibit

by godlove4241
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The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands, is under fire for showing an image made using artificial intelligence (AI) inspired by Vermeer’s famous work a girl with an earring.

The work by Berlin-based Julian van Dieken, who describes himself as a ‘digital creator’, is one of five out of approximately 3,480 images submitted for the My pearl girl initiative by which enthusiasts of the famous painting were invited to send in their own versions of the famous image of the girl.

The winning works are on display at the Mauritshuis while Vermeer’s original 1665 masterpiece is lent to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (until June 4); 170 entries are displayed in a loop in a digital frame.

Van Dieken says on his Instagram feed: “Everyone could enter their own version of the famous painting, be it a photo, drawing, AI image, knitted tribute, etc. I also entered my version that I created with [the AI programme] Mid Journey and Photoshop. He adds that the method of entry and selection was “transparent because in my submission…I thought about how these new AI tools could change creative processes.”

The controversy fuels the debate around the validity of images created using AI tools. Artists in the field point out that AI is causing a paradigm shift, raising difficult questions about artist agency, copyright, and market value. Van Dieken adds on his LinkedIn page“It is of course quite progressive and particular that the museum chose this photo, among others. The first photo of AI in this museum? It is an art historical action.

Van Dieken’s image, however, prompted a flood of comments on the Mauritshuis Instagram account. Colorado artist Julia Rose Waters says, for example, that she is “super disappointed [the Mauritshuis] chose an AI piece. This choice drove out another artist who spent real time developing his creative skills in favor of machine-made art. Another American artist, Graham McCarthy, says that “showcasing AI work here is ridiculous”. A LinkedIn contributor says it’s a “great photo that, just like the original, plays masterfully with light and shadow, so it deserves to take the place of the ‘Original in the Mauritshuis’.

The Mauritshuis says in a statement that the My pearl girl initiative is not a competition. “It was not and it is not [the] ‘the most beautiful’ or ‘the best’. For us, the starting point has always been that the designer was inspired by the world-famous painting by Johannes Vermeer. And this can be in the most diverse ways in image or technique.

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