A Chinese Painter Specializing in Copying Van Gogh Paintings Travels to Amsterdam & Sees Van Gogh’s Masterpieces for the First Time

There are many reasons to look down on art forgery, from its illegality to its lack of originality. But much like any other human endeavor, you need a great deal of skill and stamina to do it well. Certain individual forgers have lived on in history: Han Van Meegeren, say, who tricked the Nazis with his Vermeers, or Elmyr de Hory, whose skills at imitating the styles of Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, and Renoir landed him in Orson Welles’ F for Fake. If Zhao Xiaoyong doesn’t yet figure among the names of the best-known art forgers, it’s not because nobody’s made a movie about him.

That movie is Yu Haibo and Kiki Tianqi Yu’s documentary China’s Van Goghs, which you can watch just above. Much of it takes place in the village of Dafen in China’s Guangdong province, home to thousands and thousands of oil painters, all of whom make their living making replicas (in various sizes) of famous paintings by the likes of Leonardo, Rembrandt, Dalí, Basquiat, and — above all, it seems — Van Gogh. It speaks to the speed and scale of modern Chinese industry that this activity began only in 1989, but grew such that, at one point, Dafen was supplying 60 percent of the oil paintings in the world.




Zhao arrived in Dafen in the early nineteen-nineties, but still got into its nascent industry quite early on. “Back then, painting in the village hadn’t scaled up yet,” he writes in an essay at The World of Chinese. “I was moved the first time I saw the oil paintings there. They were so delicate. The people’s eyes and skin looked so vivid, so alive.” In Dafen’s small factories, “all of the painters there were rushing to fill orders, so nobody was going to hold my hand.” After his first batch of sales, he made himself a promise to “master the works of Van Gogh.”

At the time, Zhao would have had no way of knowing how close he would eventually get to those works. Even when he established himself to the point that he could start his own studio, the dream of visiting Van Gogh’s homeland — as opposed to selling copies of Van Gogh’s art to Van Gogh’s own countrymen — must have seemed far off. But then the documentarians came calling: “They wanted to make a film about my life. With their encouragement and support, I made a trip to Amsterdam.” (In the film, that trip begins at the 46:23 mark.)

Seeing the very same Van Goghs he’d copied countless many times before, Zhao encountered more “delicate brushstrokes and subdued colors” than he’d ever noticed before, among other physical signs that Van Gogh “must have been trying different things all the time.” After getting back to China, he found that his experience in Amsterdam had motivated him to paint not Van Gogh’s work but his own. “My wife had been with me for so many years, and we’d painted for so long, but she didn’t have a painting of herself, Zhou writes. “The first original painting I did was of my wife.” The future of Dafen may be in doubt, but Zhou’s commitment to art certainly isn’t.

Related content:

Anatomy of a Fake: Forgery Experts Reveal 5 Ways To Spot a Fake Painting by Jackson Pollock (or Any Other Artist)

Meet Notorious Art Forger Han Van Meegeren, Who Fooled the Nazis with His Counterfeit Vermeers

What Happens When a Cheap Ikea Print Gets Presented as Fine Art in a Museum

Illustrations for a Chinese Lord of the Rings in a Stunning “Glass Painting Style”

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

15-Year-Old Picasso Paints His First Masterpiece, “The First Communion”

 

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. – Pablo Picasso

We think it’s safe to say that most of us have a preconceived notion of Picasso’s style, and The First Communion, above, isn’t it.

Picasso was just 15 when he completed this large-scale oil, having lost his 7-year-old sister, Conchita, to diphtheria one year before.

The stricken young artist had attempted to bargain with God, vowing to give up painting if she was spared. As Arianna Huffington writes in the biography Picasso: Creator and Destroyer:

…he was torn between wanting her saved and wanting her dead so that his gift would be saved. When she died, he decided that God was evil and destiny an enemy. At the same time, he was convinced that it was his ambivalence that had made it possible for God to kill Conchita. His guilt was enormous—the other side of his belief in his powers to affect the world around him. And it was compounded by his almost magical conviction that his little sister’s death had released him to be a painter and follow the call of the powers he had been given, whatever the consequences.

If there’s evil at work in the “First Communion,” he keeps it under wraps. All eyes are on the rapt young communicant, embodied in his surviving sister, Lola, in a snowy veil and gown.

Their father, painter and drawing professor José Ruiz y Blasco, assumes the part of the girl’s father or godfather, a solemn witness to this rite of passage.

Ruiz y Blasco provided instruction and championed his son’s gift. He encouraged him to enter the “First Communion,” and later, “Science and Charity” (in which he appears as the doctor) in the Exposicion de Bellas Artes, a competition and exhibition opportunity for emerging artists.

Picasso later remarked that “every time I draw a man, I think of my father.  To me, man is Don José, and will be all my life…”

Ruiz y Blasco, convinced that Picasso’s talent would bring success as a naturalistic painter of classical scenes and portraits, was deeply disappointed when his teenaged son began blowing off class at Madrid’s prestigious Academia Real de San Fernando. 

Just imagine how he reacted to the scandalous Cubist vision ofLes Demoiselles d’Avignon,” unveiled a mere eleven years after the “First Communion.”

The rest is history.

Just for fun, we invited the free online AI image generator Craiyon (formerly known as DALL-E Mini) to have a go using the prompt “Picasso First Communion”.

The results should surprise no one. 

Related Content 

The Gestapo Points to Guernica and Asks Picasso, “Did You Do This?;” Picasso Replies “No, You Did!”

14 Self-Portraits by Pablo Picasso Show the Evolution of His Style: See Self-Portraits Moving from Ages 15 to 90

How To Understand a Picasso Painting: A Video Primer

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

When Salvador Dalí Dressed — and Angrily Demolished — a Department Store Window in New York City (1939)

If you want to understand the history of art in twentieth-century America, you can’t overlook the corner of Fifth Avenue and 56th Street in New York City. No, not Trump Tower, but the building it replaced: Bonwit Teller, the luxury department store that had stood on the site since 1929. Then as now, any shop on Fifth Avenue has to find a way to set itself apart, and by 1939 Bonwit Teller had built a “reputation for having Manhattan’s screwiest window displays.” So says Time magazine, covering a minor debacle that year over one of the installations by “the world’s No. 1 surrealist, Salvador Dalí.”

Dalí had previously dressed Bonwit Teller’s windows without incident in 1936, riding high on the buzz from his first American exhibition that same year. When invited back by the store to create a new display, writes Tim McNeese in Salvador Dalí, “he decided to use the windows to depict the ‘Narcissus complex,'” divided into day and night. “In the Day window, Narcissus is personified,” says The Art Story. “Three wax hands holding mirrors reached out of a bathtub lined with black lambskin and filled with water. A mannequin entered the tub in a scant outfit of green feathers. For the Night window, the feet of a poster bed are replaced by buffalo legs and the canopy is topped by its pigeon-eating head. A wax mannequin sat nearby on a bed of coals.”




As for the public reaction, writes the New York Times‘ Michael Pollak, “words were exchanged, not all of them complimentary, and the store’s staff made quick changes. The skinny-dipper in ‘Day’ was quickly replaced by an attired mannequin. Out went the sleeper in ‘Night’; in went a standing model.” As soon as he caught sight of the unauthorized modifications, Dalí took corrective action. McNeese quotes the artist’s own memory of the proceedings: “I dashed into the window to disarrange it, so that my name, signed in the window, should not be dishonored. I was never so surprised as when the bathtub just shot through the window when I pushed it and I was thereafter most confused.”

Dalí was charged with disorderly conduct but issued a suspended sentence since, as the judge put it, “These are some of the privileges that an artist with temperament seems to enjoy.” Nothing like this happened to Andy Warhol when he later dressed Bonwit Teller’s windows, writes i-D’s Briony Wright, though “a commission for the department store in 1961 brought what could be considered his big break.” Those same windows also became opportunities for a host of other artists including Sari Dienes, James Rosenquist, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, the last two of whom collaborated on a display as Maston Jones. They had their own reasons for the pseudonym, but an artist of Dalí’s particular sensibility knows you don’t turn down a chance to get your name on Fifth Avenue.

Related content:

When Salvador Dali Met Sigmund Freud, and Changed Freud’s Mind About Surrealism (1938)

When Salvador Dalí Created a Surrealist Funhouse at New York World’s Fair (1939)

Salvador Dalí Gets Surreal with 1950s America: Watch His Appearances on What’s My Line? (1952) and The Mike Wallace Interview (1958)

When Salvador Dalí Created Christmas Cards That Were Too Avant Garde for Hallmark (1960)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Banksy Spray Paints Murals in War-Torn Ukraine

We may not know for sure the identity of Banksy, the English street artist famous for his social-commentary graffiti murals inspired and integrated with their surroundings. But given his apparent interests, we might have suspected him to turn up in Ukraine sooner or later. Recently posted by Banksy himself, the video above shows him at work in the region of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, each of which makes a visual comment on this year’s Russian invasion and the fortitude Ukraine’s people have shown against it. “As is typical of Banksy’s work,” writes The Art Newspaper‘s Torey Akers, “the artist’s edits combine a satirist’s edge for winking commentary with a sincere investment in political solidarity.”




Smithsonian.com’s Jacquelyne Germain describes a few of Banksy’s new works in Ukraine, beginning with two in the nearly abandoned town of Borodyanka. “Painted on the side of a crumbling building,” one piece “depicts a gymnast doing a handstand on a pile of rubble.”

In another, “a young boy flips an older man onto his back in a judo match. Some speculate that the older man is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is known to be a judo enthusiast.” (Banksy has developed a distinctive sensibility in his decades of public art, but subtlety isn’t its foremost element.) His images put up elsewhere “juxtapose wartime imagery with snapshots of civilian life: in one, children ride a metal tank trap as a seesaw,” and in another “a woman in her dressing gown wears a gas mask.”

The conflict in Ukraine now approaches its tenth month, with no clear signs of an end to the violence. Civilian life can’t go on, yet must go on, and it comes as no surprise that Banksy would find something to draw upon in that harrowing and contradictory state of affairs. Nor could it have been lost on him what contextual power the shambolic urban environments of Borodyanka, Hostomel, and Horenka — towns literally torn apart by war — could grant even murals humorously spray-painted upon its surfaces.

At the end of the video, Akers notes, “a heated local man points to an image the artist painted on a graffitied wall so that a pre-existing tag of a penis became a warhead atop an armored truck and declares, ‘For this, I would kick out all his teeth and break his legs.'” Even in a war zone, everybody’s a critic.

Related content:

The Making of Modern Ukraine: A Free Online Course from Yale Professor Timothy Snyder

Banksy’s Great British Spraycation: The Artist Spray Paints England’s Favorite Summer-Holiday Destinations

Banksy Debuts His COVID-19 Art Project: Good to See That He Has TP at Home

The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross & Banksy: Watch Banksy Paint a Mural on the Jail That Once Housed Oscar Wilde

Banksy Paints a Grim Holiday Mural: Season’s Greetings to All

How Ukraine’s Works of Art Are Being Saved in Wartime — Using the Lessons of World War II

Why Russia Invaded Ukraine: A Useful Primer

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Story of Akiko Takakura, One of the Last Survivors of the Hiroshima Bombing, Told in a Short Animated Documentary

André Hörmann and Anna Samo’s short animation, Obon, opens on a serene scene – a quiet forest, anda red torii gate framing moonlight on the water.

But then we notice that the water is choked with bodies, victims of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Akiko Takakura, whose reminiscences inspired the film, arrived for work at the Hiroshima Bank just minutes before the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” over the city, killing some 80,000 instantly.




Takakura-san, who had been cleaning desks and mooning over a cute co-worker with her fellow junior bank employee Satomi Usami when the bomb hit, was one of the 10 people within a radius of 500 meters from ground zero to have survived .

(Usami-san, who fought her way out of the wreckage with her friend’s assistance, later succumbed to her injuries.)

Animator Samo, whose style harkens to traditional woodcuts, based her depiction of the horrors confronting the two young women when they emerge from the bank on the drawings of survivors:

Without craft or artistry to hide behind, the drawings told stories unfiltered, made me hear shaking voices saying: this is what happened to us.

Takakura-san attempted to capture one such image in a 1974 drawing:

I saw one corpse with burning fingers. Her hand was raised and her fingers were on fire, blue flames burning them down to stumps. A light charcoal-colored liquid was oozing onto the ground. When I think of those hands cradling beloved children and turning the pages of books, even now my heart fills with a deep sadness.

Takakura-san was 84 when writer/director Hörmann traveled to Japan to meet with historians, nuclear scientists, peace researchers and elderly survivors of the atomic bomb. Over the course of three 90 minute sessions, he noticed a quality that set her apart from the other survivors he interviewed :

…the stories that she told me there was always a glimmering light of hope in the midst of all of the horror. For me, it was a sigh of relief to have this moment of hope and peace, it was beautiful. It is impossible to just tell a story that is all pain. Ms. Takakura’s story was a way for me to look at this dark piece of history and not be emotionally crushed.

Her perspective informs the film, which travels backward and forward throughout time.

We meet her as a tiny, kimono-clad old woman in modern day Japan, whose face now bears a strong resemblance to her father’s. Her back is crisscrossed with scars of the 102 lacerations she sustained on the morning of August 6, 1945.

We then see her as a little girl, whose father, “a typical man from Meiji times, tough and strict,” is unable to express affection toward his daughter.

This changed when the 19-year-old was reunited with her family after the bombing, and her father asked for forgiveness while tenderly bathing her burned hands.

To Hörmann this “tiny moment of happiness” and connection is at the heart of Obon.

Animator Samo wonders if Takakura-san would have achieved “peace with the world that was so cruel to her” if her father hadn’t tended to her wounded hands so gently:

What does an act of love in a moment of despair mean? Can it allow you to you go on with a normal life, drink tea and cook rice? If you have seen so much death, can you still look people in the eyes, get married and give birth to children?

The film takes its title from the annual Buddhist holiday to commemorate ancestors and pay respect to the dead.

As an old woman, Takakura-san tends to the family altar, then travels with younger celebrants to the river for the release of the paper lanterns that are believed to guide the spirits back to their world at the festival’s end.

The face that appears in her glowing lantern is both her father’s and a reflection of her own.

Read an interview with Akiko Takakura here.

To Children Who Don’t Know the Atomic Bomb

by Akiko Takakura

8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945,
a very clear morning.
The mother preparing her baby’s milk,
the old man watering his potted plants,
the old woman offering flowers at her Buddhist altar,
the young boy eating breakfast,
the father starting work at his company,
the thousands walking to work on the street,
all died.
Not knowing an atomic bomb would be dropped,
they lived as usual.
Suddenly, a flash.
“Ah ~
Just as they saw it,
people in houses were shoved over and smashed.
People walking on streets were blown away.
People were burned-faces, arms, legs-all over.
People were killed, all over
the city of Hiroshima
by a single bomb.

Those who died.
A hundred? No. A thousand? No. Ten thousand?
No, many, many more than that.
More people than we can count
died, speechless,
knowing nothing.
Others suffered terrible burns,


horrific injuries.
Some were thrown so hard
their stomachs ripped open,
their spines broke.
Whole bodies filled with glass shards.
Clothes disappeared,
burned and tattered.

Fires came right after the explosion.
Hiroshima engulfed in flames.
Everyone fleeing, not knowing where
they were or where to go.
Everyone barefoot,
crying tears of anger and grief,
hair sticking up, looking like Ashura*,
they ran on broken glass, smashed roofs
along a long, wide road of fire.


Blood flowed.
Burned skin peeled and dangled.
Whirlwinds of fire raged here and there.
Hundreds, thousands of fire balls
30-centimeters across
whirled right at us.
It was hard to breathe in the flames,
hard to see in the smoke.

What will become of us?
Those who survived, injured and burned,
shouted, “Help! Help!” at the top of their lungs.
One woman walking on the road
died and then
her fingers burned,
a blue flame shortening them like candles,
a gray liquid trickling down her palms
and dripping to the ground.
Whose fingers were those?
More than 50 years later,
I remember that blue flame,
and my heart nearly bursts
with sorrow.

via Aeon

Related Content 

The “Shadow” of a Hiroshima Victim, Etched into Stone Steps, Is All That Remains After 1945 Atomic Blast

This 392-Year-Old Bonsai Tree Survived the Hiroshima Atomic Blast & Still Flourishes Today: The Power of Resilience

Haunting Unedited Footage of the Bombing of Nagasaki (1945)

Watch Chilling Footage of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Bombings in Restored Color

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Did Psychedelic Mushrooms Appear in Medieval Christian Art?: A Video Essay

Historical research reveals psychoactive substances to have been in use longer than most of us would assume. But did Adam and Eve do mushrooms in the Garden of Eden? Unsurprisingly, that question is fraught on more than one level. But if you wish to believe that they did, spend some time with the thirteenth-century artwork above, known as the Plaincourault fresco. In it, writes Atlas Obscura’s Emma Betuel, “Adam and Eve stand in the Garden of Eden, both of them faceless.” Between them “stands a large red tree, crowned with a dotted, umbrella-like cap. The tree’s branches end in smaller caps, each with their own pattern of tiny white spots” — just like you’d see on certain species of fungus. “Tourists, scholars, and influencers come to see the tree that, according to some enthusiasts, depicts the hallucinogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria.”

This image, more than any other piece of evidence, supports the theory that “early Christians used hallucinogenic mushrooms.” Supports is probably the wrong word, though there have been true believers since at least since 1911, “when a member of the French Mycological Society suggested the thing sprouting between Adam and Eve was a ‘bizarre’ and ‘arborescent’ mushroom.” The video essay just below, “Psychedelics in Christian Art,” presents the cases for and against the Tree of Life being a bunch of magic mushrooms. It comes from Youtuber Hochelaga, whose videos previously featured here on Open Culture have covered subjects like the Voynich Manuscript and the Biblical apocalypse.  This particular episode comes as part of a miniseries on “strange Christian art” whose previous installments have focused on hellmouths and the three-headed Jesus.

Nevertheless, Hochelaga can’t come down on the side of the mushrooms-seers. Similar vegetation appears in other pieces of medieval art, but “in reality, these are drawings of trees, rendered with strange forms and bright colors,” as dictated by the relatively loose and exaggerated aesthetic of the era. But that doesn’t mean the Plaincourault fresco has nothing to teach us, and the same holds for other “psychedelic” Christian creations, like the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch or the art-inspiring music of Hildegard von Bingen. Judging by the investigations this sort of thing has inspired — Tom Hatsis’ “The Psychedelic Gospels, The Plaincourault fresco, and the Death of Psychedelic History,” Jerry B. Brown and Julie M. Brown’s Journal of Psychedelic Studies article “Entheogens in Christian Art: Wasson, Allegro, and the Psychedelic Gospels” — the relevant history constitutes quite a trip by itself.

Related Content:

Pipes with Cannabis Traces Found in Shakespeare’s Garden, Suggesting the Bard Enjoyed a “Noted Weed”

The Drugs Used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans

Algerian Cave Paintings Suggest Humans Did Magic Mushrooms 9,000 Years Ago

A Survival Guide to the Biblical Apocalypse

The Meaning of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights Explained

Michael Pollan, Sam Harris & Others Explain How Psychedelics Can Change Your Mind

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Vincent van Gogh Visits a Modern Art Gallery & Gets to See His Artistic Legacy: A Touching Scene from Doctor Who

“By the time of his death”—almost two years before, in fact—“Van Gogh’s work had begun to attract critical attention,” writes the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who point out that Van Gogh’s works shown “at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris between 1888 and 1890 and with Les XX in Brussels in 1890… were regarded by many artists as ‘the most remarkable’” in both exhibits. Critics wrote glowing appreciations, and Van Gogh seemed poised to achieve the recognition everyone knows he deserved in his lifetime. Still, Van Gogh himself was not present at these exhibitions. He was first in Arles, where he settled in near-seclusion (save for Gauguin), after cutting off part of his ear. Then, in 1889, he arrived at the asylum near Saint-Rémy, where he furiously painted 150 canvases, then shot himself in the chest, thinking his life’s work a failure, despite the public recognition and praise his brother Theo poignantly tried to communicate to him in his final letters.




Now imagine that Van Gogh had actually been able to experience the acclaim bestowed on him near the end—or the acclaim bestowed on him hundreds of times over in the more than 100 years since his death. Such is the premise of the clip above from Doctor Who, Series 5, Episode 10, in which Van Gogh—who struggled to sell any of his work through most of his lifetime—finds himself at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris in 2010, courtesy of the TARDIS. Granted, the scene milks the inherent pathos with some maudlin musical cues, but watching actor Tony Curran react as Van Gogh, seeing the gallery’s collections of his work and the wall-to-wall admirers, is “unexpectedly touching,” as Kottke writes. To drive the emotional point even further home, the Doctor calls over a docent played by Bill Nighy, who explains why “Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all.” Laying it on thick? Fair enough. But try not getting a little choked up at the end, I dare you.

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site in 2016.

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Download Free Doctor Who Backgrounds for Virtual Meetings (Plus Many Other BBC TV Shows)

A Complete Archive of Vincent van Gogh’s Letters: Beautifully Illustrated and Fully Annotated

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Behold Illustrations of Every Shakespeare Play Created by Artificial Intelligence


William Shakespeare’s plays have endured not just because of their inherent dramatic and linguistic qualities, but also because each era has found its own way of envisioning and re-envisioning them. The technology involved in stage productions has changed over the past four centuries, of course, but so has the technology involved in art itself. A few years ago, we featured here on Open Culture an archive of 3,000 illustrations of Shakespeare’s complete works going back to the mid-nineteenth century. That site was the PhD project of Cardiff University’s Michael Goodman, who has recently completed another digital Shakespeare project, this time using artificial intelligence: Paint the Picture to the Word.

“Every image collected here has been generated by Stable Diffusion, a powerful text-to-image AI,” writes Goodman on this new project’s About page. “To create an image using this technology a user simply types a description of what they want to see into a text box and the AI will then produce several images corresponding to that initial textual prompt,” much as with the also-new AI-based art generator DALL-E.




Each of the many images Goodman created is inspired by a Shakespeare play. “Some of the illustrations are expressionistic (King John, Julius Caesar), while some are more literal (Merry Wives of Windsor).” All “offer a visual idea or a gloss on the plays: Henry VIII, with the central characters represented in fuzzy felt, is grimly ironic, while in Pericles both Mariana and her father are seen through a watery prism, echoing that play’s concern with sea imagery.”

Selecting one of his many generated images per play, Goodman has created an entire digital exhibition whose works never repeat a style or a sensibility, whether with a dog-centric nineteen-eighties collage representing Two Gentlemen of Verona, a starkly near-abstract vision of Macbeth‘s Weird Sisters or Much Ado About Nothing rendered as a modern-day rom-com. Theater companies could hardly fail to take notice of these images’ potential as promotional posters, but Paint the Picture to the Word also demonstrates something larger: Shakespeare’s plays have long stimulated human intelligence, but they turn out to work on artificial intelligence as well. Visit Paint the Picture to the Word here.

Related content:

3,000 Illustrations of Shakespeare’s Complete Works from Victorian England, Neatly Presented in a New Digital Archive

John Austen’s Haunting Illustrations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet: A Masterpiece of the Aesthetic Movement (1922)

Folger Shakespeare Library Puts 80,000 Images of Literary Art Online, and They’re All Free to Use

Artificial Intelligence Brings to Life Figures from 7 Famous Paintings: The Mona Lisa, Birth of Venus & More

DALL-E, the New AI Art Generator, Is Now Open for Everyone to Use

An AI-Generated Painting Won First Prize at a State Fair & Sparked a Debate About the Essence of Art

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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