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Russians ease isolation by recreating artworks

Some 350,000 people are following the Facebook group.

Russians who cannot visit their renowned museums during lockdown are filling the holes in their souls by recreating artworks and posting them on social media.

The Facebook group where the works are posted has become a huge hit. The art recreations range from studious and reverent to flippant and goofy and are done both by Russians and Russian-speakers abroad.

Some 350,000 people are following the group, where thousands of photos are posted, each showing the original work and the mock-up made at home.

A copy of Edvard Munch's Scream and Natalia Rubina's recreation
A copy of Edvard Munch’s Scream and Natalia Rubina’s recreation for the Izoizolyacia Facebook page (Natalia Rubina/AP)

The rules say it must only use items on hand and cannot be digitally manipulated.

There are some impressive surprises in the collection.

Vitaly Fonarev carefully recreated the clothes and headdress of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring and captured the Dutch artist’s famous glowing light.

The work is so convincing that it takes a few moments to notice that the “girl” actually is a man with a few days’ worth of beard stubble.

A copy of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and Julia Tabolkina's recreation for the Izoizolyacia Facebook page
A copy of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and Julia Tabolkina’s recreation for the Izoizolyacia Facebook page (Julia Tabolkina/AP

Irina Kazatsker found the project perfect for her skills. The Canadian photographer had the lights and the backdrops to do a loving recreation of Picasso’s The Frugal Meal – with the sly twist of putting a roll of toilet paper on the table.

“I decided to add a provocative detail that corresponds to the spirit of the time,” she said.

Unlike the hours of work that went into elaborate recreations, some appear to have been knocked off in a matter of minutes but are no less appealing.

Natalia Rubina’s rendition of Edvard Munch’s The Scream involved simply making a hole in a poster of the painting at the spot showing an anguished man’s head, then getting a dog to stick its head through.

A copy of Bakhtiar Umarov's Folk Humour and Ruslan Ablaev's recreation for the Izoizolyacia Facebook page
A copy of Bakhtiar Umarov’s Folk Humour and Ruslan Ablaev’s recreation for the Izoizolyacia Facebook page (Ruslan Ablaev/AP)

The dog appears nonplussed.

Katerina Brudnaya-Chelyadinova, a co-founder of the project, is pleased by the wide attention it has received.

“A boy from Italy wrote a post in English saying that our group brought him out of the depths of the tragedy that is happening around him.

“I was sitting there and I couldn’t hold back my tears because if this can bring happiness to someone, somewhere on the opposite side of the world, then all of this isn’t for nothing,”she said.

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