Accurate Photographic Recreations of Old Paintings That Feature Chairs

We’ve featured photographic recreations of old master paintings before, but usually they’ve focused on simple portraits rather than elaborate scenes. London-based photographer Maisie Broadhead went with the latter when doing her recent project “Taking the Chair.” Working with her mother Caroline, Broadhead selected seven fine art paintings that prominently feature a chair. The duo then tried to accurately recreate the details of the scene for photographs.

Here’s the painting that the above photograph was based on. It’s William Hogarth’s Marriage à-la-mode: 2. The Tête à Tête, which can be found at the National Gallery in London:

The description of the project on Broadhead’s website reads:

A joint project between Mother and daughter. ‘Taking the Chair’ is Caroline and Maisie Broadhead’s first major artistic collaboration. The collection includes Seven paintings by masters such as Vermeer, Velasquez and Magritte, in which a chair (usually empty) has a powerful presence. The chair is the point at which Caroline and Maisie’s work meets, showing seven of Maisie’s photographs, which feature seven of Caroline’s chairs, with image and object displayed alongside each other.

Taking the Chair by Maisie Broadhead (via Flavorwire)

Image credits: Photographs by Maisie Broadhead and used with permission

  • William Zhang

    I can only say that they are 70% similar, not ‘accurate’ enough

  • Craig Dickson

    It’s a cute stunt, but I wouldn’t call it art. It’s just imitation, and not even particularly good imitation.

  • Boleslaw Bierut


  • Joseph Molina

    why is imitation not art? If a cover of a song is art, then i dont see why this wouldnt be either.

  • rtfe

    taking a landscape/street/portrait shot will always be imitation…

  • Dikaiosune01

    One could just as easily say, all photography is imitation of reality. An imitation of how the light is interacting with the environment. It is different from a paining, where it is up to the painter (with the brush) to choose which strokes to make and not make.

  • rtfe

    painting is dead.

  • Candie

    I don’t believe painting is dead I believe theres to much tech in this world today theres no imagination and real appreciation for paintings, same as for art

  • Candie

    I also agree it imitates the painting.

  • rtfe

    true true, except there is now a mass surge of art. everyone is an artist. everyone has a camera or paints or makes noodle giraffes and gets likes for it. there is too much. the self-esteem generation has produced too many “artists”

  • freeboprich

    Well apart from the post being mis-titled (there’s no inference anywhere else that these are supposed to be accurate reproductions – that’s missing the point entirely and I think you should re-title it, Mike), I think these are interesting reinterpretations with a great eye for lighting, texture and colour. This is not “imitation” in as much as it is a translation from one media to an entirely different media.
    Though I would disagree that the chair in the second Vermeer has any special presence as it’s largely covered up.

  • Thomas

    I believe the photographs bring to light just how artificial and posed the paintings are – something we often ignore, because we don’t think of painting as “natural” art. The pig’s head on the table, the baby held sideways… Captured this way it seems almost ridiculous. I agree that “recreations” is a rather unfortunate title, these are much more than that. Whether or not they do a good job in recreating the original painting is beside the point I think.

  • blahblahblah

    Who are any of you to say what qualifies as art or not? Stop complaining.

  • Rick Booker

    anyone who tries to define what is art and what is not doesn’t understand art at all. Go to Google, type in “what is art” and you will find 3,740,000,000 pages. When you read all those pages MAYBE you’ll have an idea what art is.

  • Pat Powers

    I love this comment. What a smug little trollish thing to say. Clearly, the projects are motivated by a great love and respect for the Old Master paintings, and a great deal of intelligence and ingenuity went into them. But hey, trollish little guy has to say, “It’s not really art” and frankly, I wouldn’t trust his judgement at ALL.