BANGKOK — Were it not for the social media fad of the moment, we would have never known that Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has the same eyebrows as woman aristocrat from Spanish colonial Peru in the 1700s.
That was among the more whimsical results we got from matching Thai politicos and celebs to figures from art history using Google’s Arts and Culture App. The app uses facial recognition to match faces with those found in its database of works collected from museums worldwide.
Note: The app’s matching feature is technically only meant for use in the United States, but if the internet’s taught us anything, it’s that there’s a way around anything. You’ll know it’s working when opening the app finds a feature labeled “Is your portrait in a museum?”
Here are some matches the app made with famous Thai figures.
1Artiwara ‘Toon Bodyslam’ Kongmalai
Toon is one of the “Two Artists” featured in a 2012 painting by Chinese artist He Sen for his “Conversing with the Moon” exhibition.
Very astutely, the app matched junta No. 2 Prawit Wongsuwan with the assistant in the background of a VVIP in “Portrait of a Civil Official of Wuxiang County.” The painting, by an unknown artist, is from 1500s China. In the full portrait, the assistant may not have a Patek Philippe but does sport what could have been a fancy wrist accessory of the time.
Thaksin Shinawatra matched with the first Emperor of Korea as painted in the early 20th century piece “Portrait of King Gojong” by Chae Yong-sin. Gojong ruled from 1897 to 1907.
Yingluck Shinawatra matches with a girl in “Family Portrait,” which was painted between 1960 and 1965 by Singaporean artist Georgette Chen. The ‘pedia says Chen “was a forerunner of the visual arts in Singapore, who contributed to the birth of the Nanyang art style in Singapore.”
Junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s face is algorithmically similar to that of “Dona Mariana Belsunse y Salasar,” a late 18th century portrait of a woman who entered a nunnery to escape marriage to an older man, who was painted by Jose Joaquib Bermejo in Lima, Peru.
Mario Maurer matched with another leuk kreung: “Isamu Noguchi,” a Japanese-American sculptor that Weiss painted to defy the era’s racial stereotyping of Asians in the US. Noguchi was painted in 1929 by German-born American Winold Reiss.
7Araya ‘Chompoo’ Hargate
Araya “Chompoo” Hargate matched with a woman depicted in American artist Eileen Whitaker’s watercolor “Study in Whites,” painted in 1964. Whitaker (1911-2005) was known for painting watercolors of cultures of the American Southwest, Guatemala and Mexico.
8Metinee ‘Lukkade’ Kingpayom
Metinee “Lukkade” Kingpayom, supermodel and reality television hostess, matched with Spanish street artist Btoy’s 2011 stencil, screen print and acrylic rendering of flapper-era actress Louise Brooks. Talk about international star power!
9Davika ‘Mai’ Hoorne
French-Thai actress Davika “Mai” Hoorne matched with Senora Sabasa Garcia, who was a niece of Evaristo Perez de Castro, Spain’s minister of foreign affairs. She’s seen woven into silk in this 1965 work by American artist Warner-Artex titled “Senora Sabasa Garcia (c. 1806) by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828).” Indeed, Warner-Artex’s piece is a woven version of Spanish artist Goya’s early 1800s painting of Garcia, who, according to legend, had been painting Castro when Sabasa Garcia walked in and Goya, struck by her beauty, asked to paint the young woman instead.