Artle is Wordle for those with better art history knowledge than vocabulary


At a loss for words? You may do better with visuals

If you’ve mastered Wordle, it’s time for a new challenge. Cue Artle, the arty version of the popular word game. created by the National Galley in Washington DC, it’s a daily game that has players guessing artists’ names.

Originally conceptualised as a new way to showcase the museum’s collection, the game releases four images of an artist’s works every day. It usually starts with a lesser known work. A wrong guess pulls up the next image, with each subsequent image being a better known work to increase the player’s chances of scoring, until all four images have been shown.

Like Wordle, Artle allows the sharing of scores to social media so that players can show off their art knowledge and take part in a little friendly competition. That is, however, not the goal of the game. Steven Garbarino, senior product manager at the museum said that its main aim is to provide players with an opportunity to learn more about the artists and the museum’s collection. Upon getting a guess wrong, players are shown the artist’s name and a link to the artist’s page on the museum’s website so that they could do a deep dive if they so desire.

The game took the National Galley five weeks to build – a feat for a government institution, according to Garbarino, and attracted 3,500 players on the day of its release in early May. A week later, the number of players had increased ten-fold.

In the future, the team hopes to collaborate with other museums to expand the number of collections the game features. New types of clues, such as x-ray images of the paintings, and behind-the-scenes images, may also be included. The goal is to develop it into a long-term educational tool.