Art Lover Perks Up 'Miserable' Artwork With Smiling Photo App

“It felt like what we were doing was a cheap way of giving them new life.”

Let’s face it: Smiling doesn’t come easy for a lot of people, least of all those dour souls born before cameras were invented.

Those suckers had to spend long hours posing for portraits, so no wonder they look miserable.

But one art lover in England is using modern technology to help those unhappy-looking portraits and sculptures turn their centuries-old frowns upside-down.

Olly Gibbs, 27, recently used a facial recognition feature on his mobile phone to digitally alter the historical masterpieces at the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


Gibbs was inspired to make classical artworks seem a little more peppy while taking a photo at an old church tower in Amsterdam.

“We took a photo and she looked great but I didn’t,” he told South West News Service. “She said, ‘Don’t worry,’ and pressed a button and the FaceApp did it straight away and I looked really genuinely happy.”

When Gibbs went to the museum, he was struck by how sad they all looked.

“I just saw the paintings and thought they all looked quite miserable,” he said, adding that it was probably because “the sitters have to sit there for a long time!” he said.


Gibbs felt sympathetic towards these gloomy-looking subjects in these classic works of art, and realized he could help.

“I thought, ‘Yeah, I can fix that.’ We were like children in the museum,” he said.


Gibbs and his girlfriend then went through the museum looking for the glummest-looking portraits.

Although some art purists might frown upon changing these works of art from the original creators’ intent ― even in a virtual sense ― but Gibbs thinks he’s doing a good thing.

“It felt like what we were doing was a cheap way of giving them new life,” he said. “It just changes the whole aspect of the art, it was interesting to try and do it and when we did with a sculpture it worked.”


Before You Go

Renaissance Paintings as You've Never Seen Them

Popular in the Community


What's Hot