REMOTE LEARNING ASSIGNMENT #1: Re-Create Works of Art w/ Objects, People, and Areas (X3)

REMOTE LEARNING ASSIGNMENT: Re-create your favorite art using objects that you can find lying around home or in your yard. 

Picture #1:

  • Choose your favorite painting with a person or several people in it ⠀
  • Find things lying around your house or yard. ⠀
  • Recreate the painting with those attributes.⠀
  • Take a picture
  • Write a self-critique / Reflection

Picture #2:

  • Choose your favorite still life themed painting ⠀
  • Find things lying around your house or yard ⠀
  • Recreate the painting with those attributes.⠀
  • Take a picture
  • Write a self-critique / Reflection

Picture #3:

  • Choose your favorite piece of sculpture ⠀
  • Find things lying around your house or yard ⠀
  • Recreate the sculpture with those attributes.⠀
  • Take a picture
  • Write a self-critique / Reflection

The challenge was inspired by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam 

I love this Stay At Home Challenge! Instagram account ‘Between Art and Quarantine’ (, came up with a great idea:⠀⠀

Looking for inspiration? Our collection is available on our website:

People have re-created Jeff Koons using a pile of socks, restaged Jacques-Louis David with a fleece blanket and duct tape, and MacGyvered costumes out of towels, pillows, scarves, shower caps, coffee filters, bubble wrap, and—of course—toilet paper and toilet rolls.

Cézanne and Vermeer have been a popular source of inspiration, especially Still Life with Apples (done to perfection with household pottery and gin) and Girl with a Pearl Earring (restaged with selfies and grandma, pug, or lab). Grant Wood’s American Gothic seems to capture the current socially distant mood, while Munch’s The Scream is appropriate for all ages and apparently tastes good on toast. (The Cézanne is at the Getty; the next three are at the Mauritshuis, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Munch Museum in Oslo, by the way.)

Below is a roundup of just a few of the thousands of ingenious and hilarious recreations of art from Getty—and other world collections that have been shared online 

Use digitized and downloadable artworks from the Getty Museum’s online collection

Still Life

Sculpture: The Harp and the Vacuum

Sculpture on left of person with harp. Recreation on right with person holding a canister vacuum.

Male Harp Player of the Early Spedos Type, 2700–2300 B.C., Cycladic. Marble, 14 ⅛ x 11 1/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.AA.103. Recreation via Facebook DM by Irena Ochódzka with canister vacuum

Transforming into an ancient harp player with a vacuum cleaner “was the first thing that came to mind when I was looking at your collection,” says Irena Irena Ochódzka, who posed herself into this amazing sculptural recreation. “It seemed like a good idea to combine a more seriously inspired harpist pose with something as mundane as a vacuum cleaner.”

Sculpture: Mantel Clock Meets Tea Time

Left: Gold and white alter with two all-black figures. Right: A tall white mug with small chocolate-coated cookies.

Mantel Clock, about 1785, clock case attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, design attributed to Jean-Guillaume Miotte, clock dials enameled by Henri-François Dubuisson. Gilt and patinated bronze; enameled metal; vert Maurin des Alpes marble; white marble, 21 × 25 1/8 × 9 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 82.DB.2. Re-creation on Twitter by Sandro Alberti with tea and cookies

In this clever re-creation, an ornate time keeper becomes personal tea time. “I chose the clock because it already was so over-the-top ornate and yet so intimate and familiar,” Sandro Alberti said.

“The shape reminded me of a porcelain glass, or mug, and there was the reference to beverages on a tray.” The combo of clock and beverages took his mind to tea time, and from there to chocolate and porcelain.

“It just luckily happened that the multiple cookies also mark time (a cookie per second), and the only white porcelain mug I had happened to be a ‘design’ piece.”

Person: Yawning Man with Dish Towel

eft: Person with glasses yawning. Right: Ducreux's self-portrait shows a white-haired man in a red waistcoat yawning.

Self-Portrait, Yawning, by 1783, Joseph Ducreux. Oil on canvas, 46 3/8 x 35 3/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 71.PA.56. Re-creation on Instagram by Paul Morris with British redcoat and twisty towel

Paul Morris has been going to the Getty Center since it opened, and he’s always loved this self-portrait of artist Joseph Ducreux yawning.

“I would keep a postcard of it near my bedside to inspire sleep. The red jacket I already had at hand; it was part of a British redcoat costume, but I’ve also used it to dress up as a pirate and most recently for the recreation of the Hamilton-Burr duel. My wife added the twisty towel for my head and the white dish towel for the cravat, and also took the photo.” And here’s the final result.

Person: The Tiny Laundress

Left: Greuze's Laundress shows a woman in blue with white apron sitting on a stool. Right: photo of a child in blue on a stool next to a washer and dryer.

The Laundress (La Blanchisseuse), 1761, Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Oil on canvas, 16 x 13 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 83.PA.387. Re-creation on Instagram by Elizabeth Ariza and family in modern-day laundry room

Elizabeth Ariza and her daughter have recreated Cézanne, Manet, Degas, and this painting of a laundress by Greuze. She says, “my daughter and I are searching for paintings to recreate, and in this case, we really loved the composition. She loves to dress-up and act; she’s a natural actress.” The final product is perfection.

Person: Laughing Fool with Giraffe Ears

Left: Laughing Fool, Man in coat with ears on his hood holds a hand to his face as he laughs. Right, Person in giraffe hoodie and red and white sweater holds hand to face while smiling.

Laughing Fool, ca. 1500, attributed to Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen. Oil on panel, 13 7/8 in. x 9 1/8 in. Image: Davis Museum at Wellesley College. Recreation via Facebook DM by Tiffanie Pierini Ho with giraffe onesie, Christmas sweater, and post-it

Tiffanie Pierini Ho recreated this delightfully macabre Netherlandish portrait (from the Wellesley College collection) with task lighting in her home office.

“I knew I had a giraffe onesie with ears, and a Christmas sweater with cuffs, so those were my main costume,” she shared. The staff was the challenge: not wanting to go whole-hog with papier-mâche or clay, she tried balancing some toys on her shoulder, which “frustratingly kept falling off.” In the end, she told us, “I ended up drawing the head on a large post-it and sticking it to the wall, and just calling it a day.”

Person: The Astronomer and the Tray Table

Left: Vermeer's astronomer sits at a table by a window, his right hand reaching for a globe. Right: A person in blue fleece and a beret also sits at a table by a window, reaching for a globe.

The Astronomer, 1668, Johannes Vermeer. Oil on canvas, 19.6 in. x 17.7 in. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Image: Wikimedia Commons. Recreation on Twitter and via Facebook DM by Ann Zumhagen-Krause and her husband with tray table, blanket, and globe

Ann Zumhagen-Krause got started on this picture-perfect reenactment of a Vermeer masterpiece at the Louvre by scrolling through a Google Image search for paintings of interiors, looking for ones she might have the right objects and lighting and setting to do. “I got my husband involved—he’s as much of an art enthusiast as I am,” she told us.

“We covered a tray table with a blanket, added our globe, found a chair with the same outline, and had fun with positioning. The light coming in the window was good, and we had a blast with it.”

Tips for the Quarantine Challenge

1. Find Great Art You Like

The only tools you need for this activity are your imagination and a picture of a work of art you like or find interesting. Browse online Getty Museum collection and search the keyword field for ideas (for example, “portrait” or “dog”). If you have a certain unusual item that you think would work well—like the globe Ann described above, Tracy’s easel, or a special outfit, hat, or even a melted clock like Rich—you can start by searching for that, too.

Many museums have great online collections with images available to download and use for free: try LACMA, The Met, Cleveland, Indianapolis, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walters, or the National Gallery.

And of course, you could try a Google Image search for “painting [keyword],” “sculpture [keyword],” or whatever else you like. You might even try a reverse image search: upload an image of yourself or your object to Google Search and see what it thinks it looks like. (It’s often way off, but let that be part of the fun.)

Objects, Pets, or People

Now that you’ve found your inspiration, pick the objects you’d like to use. Any objects are fine: from a blank piece of paper to your most elaborate hat. You can stick to 3 and see what you come up with, but you’re welcome to use as many as you like.

Here are a few tips:

Enlist a pet. Get your dogs, cats, bunnies, and even ferrets into the mix. Here’s an example of a furry companion pretending to be a fox, complete with her toy used as a prop, and here’s a very attentive pup bringing a classic composition into the iPod era. Bonus if you have an acrobatic cat.

Make a face, strike a pose. If you’re interested in re-creating a portrait or group scene, pay attention to the facial expressions—they really make it. Here’s an all-out scream and a sassy glance. If you’re reenacting a scene with multiple figures, pay attention to the poses. These high school art history students show how it’s done.

For a family activity, look for a domestic or dinner scene. For inspiration, here’s a great Van Gogh tribute.

Pay attention to lighting. Try to imagine where the light in the artwork is coming from, and orient your composition so a window or lamp is casting similar light onto the scene. In bright daylight, windows offer a blue-tinged light, while most lamps cast a warmer glow. Here’s a beautiful example of thoughtful portrait lighting.

Think abstractly. If you’re having trouble re-creating an artwork’s appearance, try focusing on shapes over colors. For example, did you know you can suggest the Venus de Milo, one of the greatest sculptures of ancient times, with a Boost bottle and a torn Subway receipt? You can, and Wendy did it!

Make it snackable. Edible art counts too. Why not make a Magritte on toast or even a pancake? Or how about a sculpture out of strawberry?

Photograph and Post

Use a smartphone camera or a digital camera to take a photo.  You may want to do several and pick the best one. 

If you want to unite the two photos—the original and the re-creation—into a single image, you can use photo-editing software like Photoshop (here’s an online tutorial) or use a phone app like PicCollage (an example).