FACT CHECK: Is This A Photo Of The Woman Who ‘Posed For The Statue Of Liberty’?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purportedly shows a photograph of the woman who posed for the Statue of Liberty.

Verdict: False

The image does not show a photo of the Statue of Liberty’s model, but rather an artificial intelligence-generated image created by a Sweden-based artist.

Fact Check:

The Statue of Liberty, unveiled in 1886, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Gustave Eiffel, according to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. A Facebook post purports to show a photo portrait of the woman who allegedly modeled for the Statue of Liberty. (RELATED: Did The French Intend For The Statue Of Liberty To Symbolize Immigration?)

However, it does not show the model for the Statue of Liberty. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the image posted on the Amsterdam-based artist Bas Uterwijk’s website and Instagram. Uterwijk created the image using an artificial intelligence program called Artbreeder, Yahoo News UK reported.

The outlet in July 2020 described it as “Uterwijk’s interpretation of what Lady Liberty would have looked like if she was a real person.” Uterwijk has used a similar process to create AI-generated images of Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo’s David and Napoleon Bonaparte, his website shows.

“I made this image with the help of a neural network, trained on thousands of photographs of actual people,” Uterwijk told Check Your Fact in an email. “I uploaded different photo’s of the Statue of Liberty to this generative adversarial network through a program called Artbreeder. After tweaking the face to my own personal preference this was the final result, so no, the claim is false.”

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after the Roman goddess Libertas, according to The New York Times. The National Park Service said in a report that the Statue of Liberty’s design “almost certainly evolved from an earlier concept Bartholdi proposed for a colossal monument in Egypt, for which the artist used his drawings of Egyptian women as models.”

“Bartholdi’s preliminary design for the Statue of Liberty is consistent with contemporary depictions of Liberty,” the report also said.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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