Drop everything and download: Google Art Selfie

Let the big G match your mug to the Mona Lisa

We’ve all been there. Sitting on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon, sipping tea and perusing the pages of the arts section when the big question hits like a daub of acrylic: “which historic portrait do I most resemble?”

It’s a query we’ve all had to wrestle with – and one without an easy fix. Short of hitting up every art gallery in the world in search of your framed doppelganger, you’re destined never to know whether you’re more Mona Lisa than Whistler’s Mother.

“Van Gogh no!” you might be thinking, but worry not: everyone’s favourite search giant has delivered a solution to this creative conundrum – and it’s a doozy.

What’s the story?

Remember at school when you’d point at pictures in textbooks and say to your friends, “that’s you”? Google Art Selfie is like that, only without the naughty annotations.

Simply download the Arts and Culture app, scroll down to the ‘Art Selfie’ section and tap ‘get started’. Once you’ve snapped a shot of your beaming mug (or gurning, if you like), Google will fire your face through its database of thousands of portraits from galleries and museums all around the world.

In a jiffy, it’ll offer up the best matches, all rated against your face – so you’ll finally know whether you’re 46% Thomas Jefferson or 60% Pierre Bouchu.

Better yet, you can explore the portraits you’ve matched with and the app will tell you where you can see the real things – even if a quick weekend trip to the Smithsonian is out of the question.

Any downsides?

Besides being compared to unflattering artworks from across the centuries or told you strongly resemble Salvador Dali’s Portrait of Picasso? Not really.

See, there’s a whole lot of art in the world and, unless you have bags of time, money and patience, you’re probably not going to see it all.

Slinging your selfie at Google’s vast art catalogue might not be the classical way to enjoy portraits, but if it means seeing more of them then we’re all for it. Plus, it’s really funny.

Google’s said that it doesn’t store the selfies or any of the data and, besides a slightly languid loading time for some of the artworks, there’s really nothing to lose but some of your dignity.

Where can I get it?

Google Arts and Culture is available to download for free for Android devices from the Google Play Store and from the App Store for iOS hardware.