Make yourself into a masterpiece: VanGoYourself launches for Museums at Night

By Ben Miller | 15 May 2014

Relief may be arriving for art fans yearning to recreate masterpieces but lacking the intense skill required to do so with VanGoYourself

A photo of a young man in a football shirt recreating the pose of a classical painting
© VanGoYourself
Visitors to a new interactive website, VanGoYourself, can place themselves inside more than 50 classic paintings, snapping up the unusual invitation to forge a Rembrandt or Van Gogh while fooling around with friends or family.

Backed by galleries including the Rijksmuseum, the National Gallery of Denmark, Germany’s Saarlandmuseum and the Villa Vauban in Luxembourg, the project launched in the UK at Coventry's Herbert Gallery and Art Museum during this year’s Museums at Night festival and attracted over 500 submissions in first 24 hours.

Ten collections in seven European countries are represented.

A photo of a woman reading a book in a white dress, recreating the pose of a classical painting
© VanGoYourself
“If you love art, being playful and taking pictures then you are really going to have fun with this,” says Jane Finnis, of Culture24, which has initiated the less narcissistic take on selfies alongside Plurio.net, a fellow arts-loving group in Luxembourg.

“There are some brilliant pictures to recreate from a selection of serious selfies you can do on your own, or some more flamboyant historical scenes where you will need to rope in your friends to help and lay your hands on a few props.

“Everyone can find a painting that they see themselves in.”

Frank Thinnes, of Plurio, said the depth with which visitors had immersed themselves in the revered works was “a surprise”, giving them a “more profound understanding” of paintings.

Would-be sitters pick works grouped by difficulty, genre and individual or romantic potential. They are then given comprehensive details of the history of their chosen canvas, before uploading their photo and comparing the results.

Early visitors to the site have taken on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper Portrait and the calming, pastoral qualities of Marie Jeanette de Lange, by Jan Toorop. Karel Dujardin’s 17th century Boy Blowing Soap Bubbles, meanwhile, is re-imagined by a young West Ham United fan and a dog and cat have each VanGo'd Hendrik Goltiuz' Dying Adonis.

Europeana Creative – a group dedicated to “museums, paintings and having fun” – are backing the project.


What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of two lovers kissing in a recreation of the pose of a classical painting
© BBC
A photo of a group of people having a biblical last supper, recreating the pose of a classical painting
© VanGoYourself
A photo of a man in a hat and ginger beard recreating the pose of a classical painting
© BBC
A photo of a group of people in a chip shop recreating the pose of a classical painting
© BBC
A photo of a group of people posing side by side, recreating the pose of a classical painting
© VanGoYourself
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Im having trouble uploading the images we created, is there a maximum file size?
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