Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computers match humans in understanding art

Date:
September 26, 2012
Source:
Lawrence Technological University
Summary:
Understanding and evaluating art has widely been considered as a task meant for humans, until now. Computer scientists tackled the question "can machines understand art?" The results were very surprising. In fact, an algorithm has been developed that demonstrates computers are able to "understand" art in a fashion very similar to how art historians perform their analysis, mimicking the perception of expert art critiques.

A computer-generated graph of similarities between 34 different painters, reflecting the similarities between the artistic styles of painters as were automatically deduced by the computer. The analysis shows that the computer was clearly able to identify the differences between classical realism and modern artistic styles, and automatically separated the painters into two groups, 18 classical painters and 16 modern painters. Inside these two broad groups the computer identified sub-groups of painters that were part of the same artistic movements. For instance, the computer automatically placed the High Renaissance artists Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo very close to each other. The Baroque painters Vermeer, Rubens and Rembrandt were also clustered together by the algorithm, showing that the computer automatically identified that these painters share similar artistic styles. Similarly, the computer algorithm deduced that Gauguin and Cιzanne, both considered post-impressionists, have similar artistic styles, and also identified similarities between the styles of Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and Giorgio de Chirico, all are considered by art historians to be part of the surrealism school of art. Overall, the computer automatically produced an analysis that is in large agreement with the influential links between painters and artistic movements as defined by art historians and critiques.
Credit: Lior Shamir

Understanding and evaluating art has widely been considered as a task meant for humans, until now. Computer scientists Lior Shamir and Jane Tarakhovsky of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan tackled the question "can machines understand art?" The results were very surprising. In fact, an algorithm has been developed that demonstrates computers are able to "understand" art in a fashion very similar to how art historians perform their analysis, mimicking the perception of expert art critiques.

Related Articles


In the experiment, published in the recent issue of ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, the researchers used approximately 1,000 paintings of 34 well-known artists, and let the computer algorithm analyze the similarity between them based solely on the visual content of the paintings, and without any human guidance. Surprisingly, the computer provided a network of similarities between painters that is largely in agreement with the perception of art historians.

The analysis showed that the computer was clearly able to identify the differences between classical realism and modern artistic styles, and automatically separated the painters into two groups, 18 classical painters and 16 modern painters. Inside these two broad groups the computer identified sub-groups of painters that were part of the same artistic movements. For instance, the computer automatically placed the High Renaissance artists Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo very close to each other. The Baroque painters Vermeer, Rubens and Rembrandt were also clustered together by the algorithm, showing that the computer automatically identified that these painters share similar artistic styles.

The automatic computer analysis is in agreement with the view of art historians, who associate these three painters with the Baroque artistic movement. Similarly, the computer algorithm deduced that Gauguin and Cιzanne, both considered post-impressionists, have similar artistic styles, and also identified similarities between the styles of Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and Giorgio de Chirico, all are considered by art historians to be part of the surrealism school of art. Overall, the computer automatically produced an analysis that is in large agreement with the influential links between painters and artistic movements as defined by art historians and critiques.

While the average non-expert can normally make the broad differentiation between modern art and classical realism, they have difficulty telling the difference between closely related schools of art such as Early and High Renaissance or Mannerism and Romanticism. The experiment showed that machines can outperform untrained humans in the analysis of fine art.

The experiment was performed by computing from each painting 4,027 numerical image context descriptors -- numbers that reflect the content of the image such as texture, color and shapes in a quantitative fashion. This allows the computer to reflect very many aspects of the visual content, and use pattern recognition and statistical methods to detect complex patterns of similarities and dissimilarities between the artistic styles and then quantify these similarities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lawrence Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lior Shamir, Jane A. Tarakhovsky. Computer analysis of art. Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, 2012; 5 (2): 1 DOI: 10.1145/2307723.2307726

Cite This Page:

Lawrence Technological University. "Computers match humans in understanding art." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926094546.htm>.
Lawrence Technological University. (2012, September 26). Computers match humans in understanding art. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926094546.htm
Lawrence Technological University. "Computers match humans in understanding art." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926094546.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins