We'll discuss the reason for this in a moment, but first it's worth looking at the fortune of its Featured Picture nomination and at Featured Pictures in general.
Wikipedia's Featured Pictures is certainly one of its more worthwhile projects. Many photographers and retouchers give freely of their time and it's right, as well as useful, that Wikipedia showcase the best of their work. Chris Woodrich for example, the administrator most associated with the project, is also a keen photographer whose images of Indonesia are a valuable addition to Wikipedia's collection and, whatever the quarrel our editors may have with him on a single issue, we are happy to acknowledge his hard work and expertise and that of his colleagues.
When it comes to featuring works of art however, the rationale is a little less clear. Many museums now make available high resolution images of their holdings that satisfy the technical requirements of Featured Pictures, as do all of the images supplied by the Google Art Project. Together, the number of these must run well into the tens of thousands. Plainly, Featured Pictures can't nominate all of these, so there is an immediate issue of selection involved. Which of the dozens of possible candidates should be used to feature Paul Gauguin's work, for example? The ones that Hafspajen (Aaij's suck) chooses? Why? Her infantile article start for Fatata te Miti, the first of his paintings to be nominated, makes it abundantly clear she knows nothing whatsover about Gauguin's paintings or the man himself, while the painting itself is an early example of Gauguin's Tahiti paintings that doesn't reflect the symbolist elements he developed that characterize those paintings. Moreover, debacles like Olympia, September Morn, and Doña Isabel make it clear that the cartel who take it upon themselves to vet these nominations, at that time at any rate, lacked even basic skills to make the necessary judgements (to be fair the Doña Isabel nomination didn't succeed, but there were plenty, including Woodrich, who were prepared to support an obviously, and unpleasantly, color-cast image).
But the real issue, it seems to us, is in what sense can images copied from Google Art Project or museum holdings be said to be amongst the best Wikipedia has to offer? What exactly is Wikipedia's involvement in the affair beyond copying these images? Absolutely none of course. What is really being showcased here is an editor's facility with a mouse button, and quite often not even that as many of these images are collected by software bots. It's frankly absurd.
Turning to the example here, the Tobias nomination, it's gratifying that the cartel in this case at least was more careful in assessing the merits of the image. There were two possible candidates and which of these to choose took a full three months to settle. But insisting on a degree of rigour in selecting these images was precisely what got Coat blocked from Wikipedia in the first place. And in truth what was being debated here was ordinary variation in the reproduction of images (no two are ever the same), whereas Coat's issues were to do with the deliberate processing of the image to achieve an inauthentic result.
As for the article, that was copy pasted in its entirety from the holding museum's website and deleted as copyright violation: