A few weeks ago, four split screen images of the same persons face started popping up in my Facebook feed.
They were all thanks to FaceApp, which transforms users’ faces to make them look younger or older, more attractive, a different gender, or, most relative to this story, to look happier.
With the click of a smartphone, you can turn any frown upside down. To be honest, I never understood why this app was so popular until today, when I discovered London-based designer Olly Gibbs’ gallery of FaceApp images.
Olly went to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to take a look around, and noticed that all the classic oil portraits adorning the walls were a bit of a downer. None of the subjects were smiling. The mostly aristocratic, European tradition of portraiture goes back to the 13th century, and was first employed for devotional and then dynastic reasons.
By the 15th century, traditional portraiture had become so popular that it wasn’t just the rich sitting for an old school selfie, even tradesmen were getting it done. Of course, back when these portraits were painted, life was serious, and so was the small fortune you coughed up to sit for one professionally. Also, ever heard of the plague? No laughing business.
Anyway, Olly came up with the genius idea to walk around the museum and apply the FaceApp on to some of the more serious looking mugs, and the outcome is quite truly a masterpiece.
He uploaded them all to his Twitter, introducing them with the caption:
“Went to a museum armed with Face App to brighten up a lot of the sombre looks on the paintings and sculptures. The results…”
Let us finish that sentence for you, Olly. The results are nothing short of spectacular.