AI-created "Girl with a Pearl Earring" sparks a debate in the art world
Painted by Johannes Vermeer in the Netherlands' golden age, the "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is one of the most known paintings in art history. The painting has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902, and now it has a "rival," which was created by an AI.
The AI painting, which stands together with the inspired works created by the fans, was created by Berlin-based digital artist Julian van Dieken. However, questions have been raised about whether it belongs in the revered Mauritshuis and qualifies as art due to its origins, France 24 reported.
"It's controversial, so people are for it or against it," Mauritshuis press officer Boris de Munnick told 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," he added.
Julian van Dieken named the image "My Girl with a Pearl" after the Mauritshuis' request for people to send in their versions of the famous painting.
Van Dieken claimed to have utilized Photoshop and the AI program Midjourney, which can produce intricate visuals in response to a request using millions of photographs from the internet. Out of 3,482 fan submissions, The Mauritshuis selected it as one of five to be printed and physically placed in the space where "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is usually kept.
"It's surreal to see it in a museum," van Dieken wrote on Instagram.
It's a question of debate
That was a "shame and an incredible insult," Dutch artist Iris Compiet wrote on the Mauritshuis exhibition's Instagram account, and scores of others concurred.
"It's an insult to the legacy of Vermeer and also to any working artist. Coming from a museum, it's a real slap in the face," Compiet said.
She claimed that AI technologies violate the intellectual property rights of other artists by using their creations as the foundation for artificially generated images and by generally harvesting user data from the internet. The image itself she described as "almost Frankensteinish."
Artist Eva Toorenent of the European Guild for Artificial Intelligence Regulation criticized it as "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.
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