Home / Art

Detailed Portraits of Scientists Constructed Out of Hundreds of Matchsticks

The Manhattan Project is a rare and unique collection of portraits that feature scientists who were closely tied to the creation of the world's first nuclear weapon. Created by American artist Noah Scalin, each piece was meticulously designed out of hundreds of matchsticks and effectively portrays people like Einstein and Oppenheimer. After building each portrait, Scalin then burned the intricately arranged faces so that the final results were a pile of ashy remnants where the crisp faces once stood. 

Scalin presents each piece as a diptych of before and after the burning phase. The series is an exploration of ephemerality and the influence that scientists can have on our daily lives. According to the artist, “The resulting burned afterimages are reminiscent of the permanent nuclear shadows of the victims of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. Also included are silhouettes of Fatman and LittleBoy, the first two atomic bombs, which were dropped on Japan.”

Top Image: Einstein

Leo Szilard

Oppenheimer

Enrico Fermi

Otto Frisch

Edward Teller

LittleBoy/Fatman

Noah Scalin's website
via [Lustik]

Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]