Artist Creates Classical Portraits From Thousands of Pieces of Thread

Quite literally “threading” her interests of art and programming, Russian artist Ani Abakumova recreates stunning classical portraits by intricately arranging thousands of pieces of thread. 

With the help of a mathematic algorithm Abakumova invented with her husband, she is able to pinpoint each spot where the colored thread must be placed to create a full image. 

“My program analyzes millions of possibilities of how to place the threads and when it finds the result that best matches the photograph, it stops counting,” Abakumova told the website StoryTrender, “Without a computer program, it would not be possible for the human eye to create something like this. I enjoy seeing how mathematics can help create beautiful things.”

Abakumova has threaded a number of classical portraits, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and William Adolphe Bouguereau’s Italian Girl Drawing Water. Each portrait contains more than 8,000 pieces of colored thread and would measure about two-and-a-half miles if they were to be unspooled. 

Incredibly, the husband and wife team are planning to expand the size of their projects for an exhibition in Moscow. 

Check out their unique combination of mathematics and thread art on their Instagram below.