I do like having the version recognition, but I also like the idea of random inspiration on startup. I mostly use Blender for recreation, so sometimes I start it up with nothing in mind and just play around with it. So in that case, having a random artful picture would be nice. However, I think I’d still rather have pictures as a separate gallery.
Here’s an idea for implementation, should someone care to use it: Have a splash screen directory somewhere in the install path, and either put the official picture in there, or leave it wherever it is now (is it inside the executable file?) Then just have Blender show a random picture from that folder on startup, or use the default if none are available. Having the default one in that folder as well might be even better, in the event that some people want no splash screen at all. This would only increase the download size as much as the new code would require, which I’m sure would be much less than the code for all the sweet new features being added. Then people could download new splash screens only if they wanted them. They could, for example, download a collection of cropped/resized blender.org gallery pictures, or download collections from a particular artist whose work they like.