People Recreate Works of Art While in Quarantine: Part 1 – Rachel Levin, Art Lecturer

Rachel Levin, a popular art lecturer who often lectures at the Bernard Betel Centre for our weekly Tuesday Lifelong Learning Lectures, has provided a thoughtful and creative write-up for the Bernard Betel Centre community on how people are recreating works on art while in quarantine. Enjoy!


In March 2020 the Getty Museum in Los Angeles challenged people to recreate iconic paintings using anything they could find at home while self-isolating. Some of the examples are just hilarious and will make you laugh out loud as I did. All of them are the result of pure creativity and the love of art.


Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair (1940) was Frida’s first self-portrait after her divorce from Diego. In place of the traditional Mexican clothes seen in most of her self-portraits, Frida appears dressed in a large dark man’s suit, probably one of Diego’s.

Frida has just cut off her long beautiful hair that Diego admired so much. In her left hand she holds a lock of her shorn hair like an emblem of her sacrifice. In her right hand, she holds a pair of scissors with which she martyred her femininity. Strands of hair are on the floor as if they had a life of their own. This is one of two Kahlo’s paintings in the collection of MOMA, New York.


Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns (1940) Frida unraveled Christ’s crown of thorns and wears it as a necklace, presenting herself as a Christian martyr. The thorns digging into her neck are symbolic of the pain she still feels over her divorce from Diego.

Hanging from the thorny necklace is a dead hummingbird whose outstretched wings echo Frida’s joined eyebrows. In Mexican folk tradition, dead hummingbirds were used as charms to bring luck in love.

Over her left shoulder a black cat, a symbol of bad luck and death, waits to pounce on the hummingbird. Over her right shoulder the symbol of the devil, her pet monkey… a gift from Diego. Around her hair, butterflies represent the Resurrection.

As a background, Frida uses a wall of large tropical plant leaves. The painting is part of the University of Texas Austin collection.

To recreate this painting a dog replaced the monkey, a rope replaced the thorn necklace and a plastic bird replaced  the hummingbird.


In Frida Kahlo’s 1941 self-portrait ‘Me and my parrots’ she depicted four parrots; two are perched on her shoulders and two sitting in her lap.

In Alana Archer’s recreation, cleaning products stand in for the parrots.

In many of her self-portraits during this period Frida began to include her beloved pets. This is one of Frida’s many self-portraits in which her parrots are included.

This painting is part of a private collection.


Self Portrait with Braid (1941) Frida Kahlo cut off her long hair after she divorced Diego Rivera in 1939. By doing this she rejected her femininity and eased her pain over the divorce.

After they remarried in December of 1940, Frida painted this self-portrait and in it, using her hair to express her feelings about their relationship. The strands of hair which were cut off as shown in her other self-portrait, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair (above) was gathered up and braided to an endless loop. The shape of her hair might be a symbol of infinity to symbolize circle of time.

The person who recreated this painting used 3 large pretzels and intertwined in them her own hair, a tube from a toilette paper roll imitates the pre-Columbian necklace Frida wares.

The painting is part of the Jacques & Natasha Gelman Collection, Mexico City, Mexico.


Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Small Monkey (1945) accompanied by her favorite pets, which were a substitute for the children she never had. One end of the ribbon that intertwines all of the figures surrounds Frida’s signature, while the other is wound around a nail piercing the beige clouds that form the background of the painting.

Beautiful recreation by the tag user u/Louie_lou_eye impersonating Frida and using her own dog and stuffed animals.


Dora Maar Seated (1937) by Pablo Picasso at the Musée Picasso, Paris. Recreated by tag holder byu/lil-drummer-gir.


Portrait of a Young Woman (1632) by the Dutch artist Nicolaes Pickenoy from the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Bryan Beasley who is a professional photographer recreated the painting with his wife Coco as the model. She wears a collar made of toilet paper rolls to emulate the 17th century costume.


The Garden of Earthly Delights (1480-1505) is a triptych alter piece by the Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch housed in the Prado Museum, Madrid. The right wing represents hell. Bosch depicted a world in which humans have succumbed to temptations that lead to evil and reap eternal damnation.

The creator of this painting goes by the tag Weary Frog. To recreate this painting he used found objects around the house.


Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) by Dutch Golden Age by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer; this portrait seems to be very popular with recreators.


The Ambassadors (1533) by the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger. Part of the collection at the National Gallery, London, UK. This is a double portrait of Jean de Dinteville who was a French diplomat, and Georges de Selve (impersonated by a dog) who was a French scholar and a Diplomat.

Recreated by the tag user u/Udemy2020.


Woman in Biscuits by Julia Timoshkova.

 A recreation of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) better known as ‘Woman in Gold’ part of The Neue Gallerie in New York. Julia used various types of cookies and biscuits to imitate the geometrical shapes Klimt painted on the sitter’s dress.


Portrait of Natasha Gelman (1943) by Diego Rivera commissioned by Jacques Gelman. Jacques Gelman, was a Russian Jew who moved to Mexico in 1941 and became a movie mogul. He and his wife Natasha became avid art collectors.

The glamorous Mrs. Gelman is dressed in a white gown that looks like the outline of the calla lily. She reclines on a divan against a background of large bouquets of calla lilies.


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