Paws meet machine learning with Pet Portraits

November 8th, 2021

According to John Steinbeck, “I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically, dogs think humans are nuts.”

Perhaps Steinbeck’s dogs would have really thought we were nuts back in 2018 when people around the world used Art Selfie to search for their doppelgängers from across art history — with over 120 million selfies taken so far.

But now, pets can get in on the fun too! Today we are introducing Pet Portraits, a way for your dog, cat, fish, bird, reptile, horse, or rabbit to discover their very own art doubles among tens of thousands of works from partner institutions around the world. Your animal companion could be matched with ancient Egyptian figurines, vibrant Mexican street art, serene Chinese watercolors, and more. Just open the rainbow camera tab in the free Google Arts & Culture app for Android and iOS to get started and find out if your pet’s look-alikes are as fun as some of our favorite animal companions and their matches:

Photo of a gray striped cat matched with a similar gray striped cat from The Met Museum.
Nala Cat goes by many names: Guinness World Record holder, cat food entrepreneur and published author. Probably “The Favorite Cat” also, as this match will tell you.
Photo of an elegant horse in a stable matched with a painting of a horse led by a rider.
CeCe is quite the jet setter as she has lived in three countries and competed in Show Jumping throughout Europe. You could easily believe that she was actually the inspiration for this Italian painter working in Britain and now on display at Yale.
Photo of a yellow and gray cockatiel bird matched with an artwork called “The Menagerie”.
Richard “Richie” Feynbird is in a league of his own. When he’s not dunking hoops or bowling strikes, he enjoys quality time with his human flock (with plenty of head scratches). No wonder the Rijksmuseum has his lookalike on display.

When you take a photo in Pet Portraits, our trained computer vision algorithm recognizes where your pet is, crops the image, and puts them where they belong: front and center. Once that is done, a machine learning algorithm matches your pet’s photo with tens of thousands of artworks from our partners’ outstanding collections to find the ones that look most similar. Now it’s time for them to enter the spotlight: Share your pet’s #PetPortraits as a single still image or select multiple images to animate together as a GIF slideshow.

Additionally, Pet Portraits invites you to tap on your result to learn about the stories and artists behind each artwork. Keep on exploring Google Arts & Culture and discover more about our pawed, winged, and hooved friends throughout history. Get to know the 10 coolest cats or dogs of art history, dive into wonders of the natural world, or find out more about fantastic beasts in fiction and nature.

Ready to find your pet in art? Open up the free Google Arts & Culture app for Android or iOS and tap the rainbow camera button at the bottom of the page. Discover and share your most paw-fect #PetPortraits and don’t forget to tag us @googleartsculture on Instagram or @googlearts on Twitter! 🐾