A Girl With Glowing Earrings Sparks Controversy

AI generated “A Girl With Glowing Earrings” painting displayed at Mauritshuis museum

Submitted by German AI artist Julian van Dieken, A Girl With Glowing Earrings is one of five interpretations of the masterpiece painting Girl With a Pearl Earring (c. 1665) created by Johannes Vermeer during the Netherlands’ golden age. All five are currently showcased at the Hague’s Mauritshuis museum, but not without raising some eyebrows.

Many have debated whether or not A Girl With Glowing Earrings should be allowed or even qualified for view at the Mauritshuis.

“It’s controversial, so people are for it or against it,” said Mauritshuis press officer Boris de Munnick to 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.”

Pearl Earrings AI Recreation

Van Dieken stated that he used Photoshop and the artificial intelligence tool Midjourney, which can create sophisticated visualizations in answer to a request utilizing millions of images from the internet. Out of 3,482 submissions, The Mauritshuis selected Van Dieken’s Pearl Earrings AI recreation as one of five to be printed and physically placed in the space where Girl with a Pearl Earring is usually kept.

Dutch artist Iris Compiet posted on the Mauritshuis exhibition’s Instagram feed that the Pearl Earrings AI recreation was a “shame and an incredible insult”.

“It’s an insult to the legacy of Vermeer and also to any working artist,” Compiet told AFP. “Coming from a museum, it’s a real slap in the face.”

The practice of employing AI image generators to create art has been debatable since the technology became publicly accessible, and discussions over the tools’ role in creativity have exploded ever since. That’s not to say A Girl With Glowing Earrings isn’t a worthy piece, but the topic surrounding its creation is surely controversial.

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