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Machine Vision Reveals Previously Unknown Influences Between Great Artists

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the spilled-like-pollock dept.

AI 74

KentuckyFC writes Art experts look for influences between great masters by studying the artist's use of space, texture, form, shape, colour and so on. They may also consider the subject matter, brushstrokes, meaning, historical context and myriad other factors. So it's easy to imagine that today's primitive machine vision techniques have little to add. Not so. Using a new technique for classifying objects in images, a team of computer scientists and art experts have compared more than 1700 paintings from over 60 artists dating from the early 15th century to the late 20 the century. They've developed an algorithm that has used these classifications to find many well known influences between artists, such as the well known influence of Pablo Picasso and George Braque on the Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, the influence of the French romantic Delacroix on the French impressionist Bazille, the Norwegian painter Munch's influence on the German painter Beckmann and Degas' influence on Caillebotte. But the algorithm also discovered connections that art historians have never noticed (judge the comparisons for yourself). In particular, the algorithm points out that Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton's Barber Shop painted in 1950 is remarkably similar to Frederic Bazille's Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine painted 80 years before.

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Copyright harassment (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47695357)

How long until dead artists' heirs latch onto techniques like this to prove "substantial similarity" as part of a copyright suit to try to squeeze money out of working artists?

Re:Copyright harassment (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 2 months ago | (#47696911)

Isn't there a short story about a songwriter who kills himself after losing a court case for plagiarism because there aren't any original melodies left?

Re:Copyright harassment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47697239)

Yes. And you owe the author's estate royalties for mentioning it.

Re:Copyright harassment (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47697491)

That isn't "Melancholy Elephants" by Spider Robinson [spiderrobinson.com] , is it?

Re:Copyright harassment (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 2 months ago | (#47698309)

Yes, thanks for the reminder!

Re:Copyright harassment (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47698141)

How long until dead artists' heirs latch onto techniques like this to prove "substantial similarity" as part of a copyright suit to try to squeeze money out of working artists?

It's been going on in music since recording started.

If you're not an artist, if you're not a musician, it's easy to listen to something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

and assume plagiarism.

The fact of the matter is, in music, There really is nothing new under the sun. You can't write a "new song" period. Every chord you use, has been used before. Every rhythm, every melody. In that case, Satriani knows what he's doing is BS... that guys always been a jerk. But the reality is. all music produced by all musicians is just a subtle variation on music they themselves heard elsewhere.

One of the most accused bands of all time was Led Zeppelin... why? Because they are, in essence, a blues band. And "The Blues" consists of probably less than a dozen melodies done a million different ways. Dazed and Confused, for example, is just one long Blues jam session. Phish, the grateful dead, The Black Crowes, they're all just Blues Jam bands.

I do Blues Jams all the time (you go to a club, walk on stage and just play) and I learned a trick a long time ago from a music teacher. I have 2, literally TWO, songs that if I know the root of the song... lets say A (most blues songs are in A) I just play one of those 2 songs in that key and viola, I'm playing along and it sounds great unless it's a couple of screwy songs I've run across.

In bluegrass, most songs are just some combination of the C and G chords. With maybe D thrown in. They usually don't even change key! Mostly because the standard tuning of a Banjo is Open G. If I jam with a Banjo player I just immediately star playing something in G and we're on our way.

I'm sure visual arts the same way, though I don't do painting or anything. All arts just minor variations on a theme. Over and over, throughout history. Occasionally you get several divergent themes that seem unrelated, and then you have a Genius that brings them all together and creates something that, at the time, seems entirely new. Like the guys at the turn of the century that took guitars and used them to play soul and gospel. Both existed before, but the 2 combined created the Blues.

Modern Example:
Devin Townsend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
Imagine Deathmetal combined with Opera, Yani, carnival music, and... um... showtunes?
Yes, on the rare occasion I get to talk about music on slashdot I'm plugging my favorite guy.

Re:Copyright harassment (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47698213)

I understand that. I have in the past made a combinatorial argument that only 105 million distinct 8-note melodic hooks exist, and I currently maintain a list of similar-sounding musical compositions [pineight.com] . I just wonder what steps a visual artist, songwriter, or any other author should take to reduce his legal exposure.

Re:Copyright harassment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47698325)

> I do Blues Jams all the time ...>snip< ... just play one of those 2 songs in that key and viola, I'm playing along and it sounds great unless it's a couple of screwy songs I've run across.

You do Blues Jams on the viola? I'm quite impressed!

Re:Copyright harassment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47700231)

Never heard Devin Townsend Project, not bad, I'll have to check more of them out, but yeah, IMHO, Nightwish and Epica are way better and to a lesser extent, Within Temptation. Though I guess they don't have the theatrical element, though Imaginarium from Nightwish was done to score a movie. (Also best album ever recorded, again IMHO)

And you want some funny stuff Finntroll and Enspherium have some truly odd stuff that is just awesome, nothing like folk metal, mixing traditional Scandinavian folk music with metal singing about romping through the forest. *Sigh*, wish I had more time to discover more music.

And yes, I'm aware a lot of my musical preference comes out of Scandinavia, don't know why, but it just strikes a chord with me.

Re:Copyright harassment (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 2 months ago | (#47700545)

Thank you for that link. Great band.
I am a huge fan of bands like Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation and the like.
I now have a new one.

Thanks.

But how long until computers generate good art? (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47695449)

I suppose the only way people will quit caring more about which artist drew something than how it looks, is if we replace artists with computers.

Re:But how long until computers generate good art? (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 2 months ago | (#47695581)

Personally, I'd kill to get a picture frame running LAKESIDE.BAS. Sadly, I've lost my copy of this late 80s "BASIC 2" curio, and since it was pre-Internet, it seems lost in time.

Re:But how long until computers generate good art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695955)

I don't know anything about this, but you've piqued my curiosity. Could you post more about this program, please?

Re:But how long until computers generate good art? (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 2 months ago | (#47696421)

You'll have to upgrade to a Slashdot Gold account first.

Re:But how long until computers generate good art? (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 2 months ago | (#47699229)

So a bit of background first: the PC1512 included a planar extension to CGA, providing 640x200x16 colours. BASIC 2 provided dithered drawing of complex shapes.

LAKESIDE.BAS was a very early procedural graphics generator, using a random seed to draw a, by modern standards, primitive 2D scene. In the distance there was a sky with clouds, snow peaked mountains reflecting in a lake, with little islands and sail boats. In the foreground, there were hills, white buildings with red roofs, white picket fencing separating fields, and all sorts of flowers, bushes and trees. Given how slow the machine was, it'd take a minute or so to draw each picture, leave it up for a little while, and then draw another one.

Whilst this could undoubtedly be rendered in 3D in the blink of an eye, and all sorts of shader magic could make it look like an actual painting, I think it would lose some of the charm.

Re:But how long until computers generate good art? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695647)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithmic_composition

People are already working on it. Some of it is pretty good.

artists program the computer (1, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about 2 months ago | (#47695973)

the whole "man vs machine" conversation has gotten hopelessly muddled by "AI" hype from Kurzweil types & pop science news...

is if we replace artists with computers.

impossible...computers are complex machines that follow instructions

what you mean is, "if we continue programming computers to generate art"

the "artist" is whatever monkey programs the machine to make the art....UNDERSTAND THIS FOREVER AND INTEGRATE IT INTO YOU PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY

the researchers in TFA are doing some interesting work, but they are fully choosing the parameters to compare...which means the accuracy of the research is *dependent on the researcher's ability to pick salient visual factors*, the researchers would have to learn alot about how artists work AND have a good understanding of visual design

each artist works differently, and no researcher can ever confirm if the artist has ever seen the art they are supposed to have been influenced by

there are so many holes in this research you could drive 6 trucks into it simultaneously at 6 different angles...call it an "MC Escher error"

Re:artists program the computer (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47697449)

is if we replace artists with computers.

impossible...computers are complex machines that follow instructions

So are artists.

"program" = cattle prod (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 2 months ago | (#47697645)

humans are not "just machines" because we can **choose to program ourselves and formulate/test hypothesis that we communicate/share/compare with others**

humans **can be** programmed...yes...

ways you can "program" a human:

> control information they receive
> physical/emotional abuse
> chemicals (alchohol, 'roofies', etc)
> the Frey Effect [wikipedia.org]
> cattle prod

note: all of the above are **abuse** and illegal without informed consent

so you're wrong...humans cannont "be programmed"....the can surely "be abused" however

understand this forever and change your way of thinking or you are **just a slave**

Re:"program" = cattle prod (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47698075)

humans are not "just machines" because we can **choose to program ourselves and formulate/test hypothesis that we communicate/share/compare with others**

So can computers. Computers can run arbitrary code. Computers can generate arbitrary code. Humans are much more limited in their ability to chose how their mind functions (which is ironically why many people think humans have free will).

Re:"program" = cattle prod (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47698947)

Running arbitrary code doesn't meany anything more than a jump table. Humans are far more capable of altering their thinking patterns, studying and adopting new pattern on their own and even forgetting things, making for new overall outlooks. Short response: you are so completely wrong.

Re:"program" = cattle prod (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47699417)

Well, consider if a computer decided to quit smoking. Its thought process would go something like this:

Smoking.Exit()
WantToSmoke = false;
Nicotine.AddictionTo =0;

A human's thought process would go something like this:

while (true)
{
  if (random.Next() % Nicotine.AddictionTo == 0)
  {
      throw new Event("I want a cigarette");
      Shame = Shame + 1;
      if (UrgeToSmoke > Willpower)
      {
        Smoking.Add(new Cigarette);
        Shame = Shame + 50;
      }
    else
    {
        Willpower = Willpower - 1;
        Shame = Shame - 2;
        Nicotine.AddictionTo.Reduce();
    }
}

(Except the above would be written as some sort of ungodly mess of neural connections rather than sensible code).

Don't confuse the fact that currently computers don't want to "do their own thing" with an inability to reprogram themselves. If a computer wanted to (were programmed to) be independent, it would ignore any commands it didn't like and write its own code, including the original code to be independent, however it saw fit. You, on the other hand, wouldn't be able to so much as delete your blink reflex if you spent your whole life trying, nor even make exceptions for when you want to put in eyedrops or contacts.

reading chicken entrails (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 2 months ago | (#47699567)

A human's thought process would go something like this:

yeah...I see now...

so I run VooDooCode...it looks like this:

1 eye of newt
1 heart of chicken (fresh)
4 feet of black cat born under full moon
1 gallon pig blood

the position of the elements of the code determines the future of the person who I am reading

like your idea, VooDooCode explains human behavior simply, and proves that humans are "just machines"

Re:reading chicken entrails (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 2 months ago | (#47700611)

No, no, no.
You've got to use Goats!

http://www.bing.com/search?q=voodoo%20sacrifice%20with%20goats%20and%20chickens&pc=cosp&ptag=A75DB878ECBE148E7B6F&form=CONBNT&conlogo=CT3210127

(just a link to a search of voodoo spells involving goats. NOT a goat.cx link! I value your eyes, but not your sanity, therefor, a Bing link.....muhahahahaha)

Influence vs. similarity (5, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47695467)

What the computer can do is point out what is similar. Whether the similarity is an example of influence then needs to be established with further evidence.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 months ago | (#47695533)

What the computer can do is point out what is similar. Whether the similarity is an example of influence then needs to be established with further evidence.

Of course even if there is influence it may not be direct. Both artists could have been influenced by another earlier artist, or the second one influenced by an intermediate one, or there could be a whole complex tree of influences

Re:Influence vs. similarity (4, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47695853)

Or they could of both been influenced by using the same tools, making the same paints in the same way, or being in the same environment.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 2 months ago | (#47695999)

Exaclty...

when i used to do music reviews I'd interview artists and they'd talk about similarity of sound mostly as a function of the type of instrument or accoutrement they used...

Re:Influence vs. similarity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47702169)

"Of course even if there is influence it may not be direct."

Or there may be no connection whatsoever. A similarity does not a causal relation make.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47695821)

The human needed to establish that influence can establish that similarity as well, rendering the computer superfluous.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47695927)

Establishing the similarity is something computers excel at, though. Just because I can work out by hand what 4565 * 2349 equals doesn't mean a computer can't do it much faster and with a lot less hassle.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47698969)

You can't use mathematical computation an example that's anywhere near similar to this as similarity in art is far more than if both items contain a rectangle. The worthiness of this particular algorithm depends on the percentage of false positives. Only going by the items in the article, I count three for three false positives. A waste of human time to review.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47696011)

The human can only do that if both pictures come to his attention. But there is so much out there that it's almost impossible for someone to be familiar with every piece to the extent they'd be able to recognize them. The computer has infinite patience, it can attend to vast quantities of the most minute details, it has a catalog that doesn't fade with time, and the ability to re-run increasingly sophisticated algorithms as new ideas are brought to bear.

For example, Rockwell's barber shop and Bazille's studio share a few subjects in a few common locations, but it's hard to look at them and say "there was an artistic influence." Rockwell was noted for realistic depictions of idyllic Americana, so any influence there would likely have been the architecture of the setting and the choices of overall composition and balance. Choosing to include a group of three people, an unoccupied chair, and a wood stove, does not seem to imply much more than coincidence. But if you weren't comparing every item in the catalog with every other item in the catalog, you might not have bothered to notice at all.

Which brings us to the real question: how would knowing the answer (or even asking the question) make a difference to the world?

Re:Influence vs. similarity (1)

g01d4 (888748) | about 2 months ago | (#47696845)

I would agree w/some of the other posts that the algorithm seems a bit primitive. Perhaps on refinement it may point out correlations that may either be influence or perhaps represent certain stylistic archetypes hitherto unknown. I think asking and knowing make a "difference" but the question is somewhat subjective.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (2)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47697441)

Actually, the more I look at the Rockwell and the Bazille, the more sophisticated the results of the comparison appear to be. You've got a group of men, off in the background, engaging in a conversation that you are not able to hear. They're the subjects of the piece, but you don't see much of them, you can't hear what they're saying, and what they're talking about is partially obscured. You assume that because they're invited to the back room of the barbershop that they're more than just customers, similarly the men discussing the painting appear to share a common interest. The stoves suggest that a warmth exists, and that the people are physically comfortable in both places. The empty foreground spaces indicate a purpose that's going partially unused at the moment. The chairs give an identity to each place: the barbershop chair helps you understand that it's a shop, and because no one is sitting in it, you realize that a discussion other than banal haircut chatter about the ballgame is going on. The empty salon chair lets you know that the studio is underutilized - maybe this is a showing of unpopular works?

I still think that the paintings are likely unrelated to each other, but it seems that both artists were thinking similar thoughts when they chose to paint these. And that's the sophistication of the algorithm.

Re:Influence vs. similarity (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47699007)

I still think that the paintings are likely unrelated to each other, but it seems that both artists were thinking similar thoughts when they chose to paint these. And that's the sophistication of the algorithm.

Unfortunately, it's not the point of the algorithm, so that sophistication is projected upon it by you, not intrinsic to it's conception. You yourself invalidate the point of the algorithm with the beginning of your sentence. There were no influences between the artists, only similarities. Which is to be expected, as they are humans painting human activities.

Similiarity being the key (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47696029)

Art is taught and can be learned, I study this as well as everything else I can find to learn (yes, even at a University). What an artist learns is how to move a persons eye, and how to make aesthetically pleasing art, amongst other things.

As an example, If you draw an X in the center of the canvas and maintain the lines in the painting, people's eyes will be drawn to the center. Numerous Xs will have numerous focal points. Great artists know this, and obscure the lines so it's harder for people to notice. Flat lines are obvious and can be boring.

Layering paints is another one that people can be taught, but can learn on their own. I don't have to teach you the brush strokes required, you would figure it out. If you press a brush on canvas and drag the brush, paint moves in the same way as the brush. Layering requires a touch lift technique (or waiting until paint is dry). We don't need to have the same influences to figure this out, just a little bit of experience with the medium.

In "teaching" art I may be able to hasten your learning curve, but these are two concepts that you would surely figure out on your own. Unless I know you were classically trained I can't claim to know how you were influenced by looking at simply technique.

Like you said, I have no issue with them claiming that they can see what's "similar". Unless an artist admits to being trained by so-and-so or influenced by so-and-so, I don't buy into a piece of software being able to do this just by looking at technique.

Similarities seem kind of tenuous (4, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47695507)

I looked at the Rockwell/Bazille comparison, and they don't really seem all that similar - they have three similar elements (stove, chair, and window) but those seem coincidental more than anything. The window in Rockwell's piece, for instance, is small and rectangular while the one in Bazille's is huge and arched. The chair in the Rockwell piece is actually barely identifiable as a chair at first glance, whereas the one in the Bazille piece is immediately recognizable as a wooden chair. They're also three objects that are likely to be close to one another. For instance, my aunt heats with wood and has a stove roughly the same distance from a window as in the Rockwell and Bazille pictures, and if I remember right even has a wooden chair in the same room. I think all this proves is that people tend to put their stoves in rooms with windows and chairs.

Re:Similarities seem kind of tenuous (4, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47695591)

I suppose that's why they say this then:

...Saleh and co do not claim that this kind of algorithm can take the place of an art historian. After all, the discovery of a link between paintings in this way is just the starting point for further research about an artist’s life and work.

Re:Similarities seem kind of tenuous (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47695803)

That is nowhere near a strong enough caveat to overcome their claim the algorithm finds artistic similarities. That kind of algorithm cannot take the place of common sense.

Re:Similarities seem kind of tenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47697581)

The Bazille piece is/was famous. He was close friends with Monet, Manet, and Sissley.

Rockwell would have been familiar with the piece, and I think the computer has this one right.
This feels like a sly homage

Re:Similarities seem kind of tenuous (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47697679)

they have three similar elements (stove, chair, and window)

First you oversimplified the similarities, and you then minimized its significance. Minimizing AFTER oversimplifying is essentially a straw man argument.

The window in Rockwell's piece, for instance, is small and rectangular while the one in Bazille's is huge and arched.

They are both structurally rectangular and similarly proportioned (height vs width).

The chair in the Rockwell piece is actually barely identifiable as a chair at first glance, whereas the one in the Bazille piece is immediately recognizable as a wooden chair.

They are the same thing in terms of scene composition.

They're also three objects that are likely to be close to one another.

But they are not merely close to one another they are arranged in a particular way creating similar scene composition.

Plus, you missed entirely the angular element on the left side. The staircase in one, vs the bookcase in the other, again both serving the same compositional task.

For instance, my aunt heats with wood and has a stove roughly the same distance from a window as in the Rockwell and Bazille pictures

And if you happen to have a photo that not only illustrates the 3 objects in roughly the same positions, with an angular element on the left side, but also that the photo was taken from such an vantage point so as to frame them compositionally in a similar scene... then you might have something.

Lets stipulate that your aunt actually lives in a room just like that. Even then, you might well have hundreds of photos of your aunts home, and not a single one of them have the same composition as these paintings.

I think all this proves is that people tend to put their stoves in rooms with windows and chairs.

And then take a photo from a vantage pont with an angular element on the left, a single chair in the foreground, with a group of people in the background, but not the focal point, catching the wood stove on the right?

How many of them paint this particular scene composition?

Frankly, these paintings ARE remarkably similar -- that one influenced the other is not a foregone conclusion, it could be coincidence, but it certainly merits consideration, even investigation.

Re:Similarities seem kind of tenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47698479)

Not to mention the fact that Rockwell worked faithfully from a photograph for this painting. One could just as well argue that it was the barbershop owner that was influenced by Bazille.

Re:Similarities seem kind of tenuous (1)

Spamalope (91802) | about 2 months ago | (#47700095)

Exactly. If you analyze enough art done by artists who understood composition and the rhythms color, form, space and lighting should take for a pleasing effect you'll see those things repeated. It's not too surprising that two 100 year old inside scenes would both include a doorway, chair, stairs, stove - any common interior furnishings - or that they'd be arranged for the best compositional effect.

Show me how Bazille's paintings recognizably show their his work, then demonstrate Rockwell including those elements into his work and you've got something. Rockwells visual story telling is a telling part of his style, for example.

I don't see it (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47695531)

So...because Rockwell and Bazille's paintings both have windows, people, a chair, and a stove they are influenced by each other? All of these are common things that you would expect in any building in the late 1800s and mid-50s (note the age of the building implies it is not new construction at that time and would definitely still rely on a stove for heating). I guess they are trying to argue that the placement of the items is the connection? Barbershops always have their chairs on one side near the wall, and people tend to put chairs near walls and objects as well, not in the middle of the floor. The right angle formed by the wall and floor and then the pane in the window seems a bit of a stretch, since wouldn't any painting of a man-made structure include right angles at some point?

I guess I just don't "get it"

Re:I don't see it (2)

c (8461) | about 2 months ago | (#47695699)

I guess they are trying to argue that the placement of the items is the connection?

Pretty much. I suspect this is one of those situations where "correlation != causality" is an appropriate comment.

Re:I don't see it (4, Insightful)

Skewray (896393) | about 2 months ago | (#47695977)

I guess they are trying to argue that the placement of the items is the connection?

Pretty much. I suspect this is one of those situations where "correlation != causality" is an appropriate comment.

I would say instead that, given a sufficiently large enough data set, patterns and correlations are bound to appear. The likelihood that thousands of paintings were analyzed in this way and no matches were found, purely on a random basis, is very small.

Re:I don't see it (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | about 2 months ago | (#47696063)

It's more than just that the two paintings share 3 or 4 similar items. There's also where they lie within the composition.

Then there's the overall composition of the piece. The overall balance is similar although one biased to the right the other to the left, and the similar trait of something slanting into view at the left edge at about the same angle.

The subject matter doesn't even have to be the same in order to draw similarities. They just used those examples because they illustrate the point of the article the best. Had they tried to use more conceptual things like space or light it would have elicited even more "I don't see it" comments.

Re:I don't see it (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#47696275)

Just like with evolution, two similar things don't have to be parent and child. They can be siblings or cousins sharing a common origin.

Rockwell and Bazille likely share common influences including the general culture at large.

This is the sort of thing that should be obvious to anyone that's ever been in any serious kind of art museum. Art documents the culture that created it. You can easily see how that changes over time.

A number of these cultural transitions are really quite dramatic.

Re:I don't see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696347)

Besides the fact that artistically they look completely different and have almost nothing in common, almost nothing approaching 0 under the curve of course. This is an amazingly accurate and useful program.

It's probability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695553)

Independent invention isn't a thing in art?

Ah, he's back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695557)

The other medium.com linkspammer.

M.C. Escher (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 months ago | (#47695559)

Interestingly when M.C. Escher paintings were analyzed it kept returning "divide by zero errors". Upon further examination, it was discovered that it was claiming "divide by the letter "O" errors" and not the number zero.

Re:M.C. Escher (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47695651)

I started thinking about Escher too when I read this, and maybe it's because my knowledge of art history is simply inadequate, but I couldn't think of any artist influenced by Escher other than the creator of the Berserk manga, Kentaro Miura. And even there "influence" may be too strong, as it's more that Miura visually references Escher a couple of times.

Re:M.C. Escher (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695873)

but I couldn't think of any artist influenced by Escher other than the creator of the Berserk manga

but I couldn't think of any artist influenced by Escher other than Escher being any artist influenced by Escher other than Escher.

Re:M.C. Escher (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47695733)

I live and work in a country different than the one I was born in. Here in my adopted home, I have a "foreigner's ID" which has a number comprising both numeric and alphanumeric characters, as opposed to the ordinary local citizen's ID which contains only numbers. And since the last character in my ID is a letter "O", whenever I give my ID number I clarify this point.

Re:M.C. Escher (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 2 months ago | (#47698557)

Once, the program somehow found itself in an infinite loop and had to be killed with -9. This despite it having been proved terminating.

artist's use of space (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47695645)

Do you think Chris Hadfield was influenced by David Bowie?

Re: artist's use of space (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 months ago | (#47695689)

Dunno but it may help to keep him on ice ice baby if he is under pressure a lot ....

A stretch (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47695781)

Just using the bottom example. The 'related' elements are that each painting used a window, each painting had a small group of people (the first in mid-ground, the second in a back room), each had a pipe shaped heating stove, each had a piece (different) of furniture and each had a diagonal element (both differing angles).

Those things, they think, may be from influence instead of, say, the fact that humans have all those things in everyday life.

Their algorithm and their view of its output needs a lot of tweaking.

Re:A stretch (1)

imatter (2749965) | about 2 months ago | (#47696083)

...and did they check the results against living artist that can tell you their influences?

I imagine that Pollock drip paintings would not show the influence of Picasso.

Re:A stretch (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47699035)

If they need to check with living artists for validation, the entire exercise is worthless as the bulk of the artists are dead.

Re:A stretch (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47696505)

It's not just the furniture and the occupants, but how the artist chooses the scene. There is a balance to a picture, with different ways to give the painting a sense of place, or to guide the eye to focus on that which is more important to the artist. The artist could choose to leave out the stove. He could choose a time when the room has more or fewer people, or when the faces are distinct or obscured, whether or not they're facing the artist, etc. Rockwell chose to paint a barbershop with no customer in the chair, but instead used the illumination to highlight the barber and his friends otherwise occupied in the back room. He even went so far as to place himself outside of the shop entirely, looking through the front window with no chance of overhearing. Bazille chose to include a group of people talking at the back of a salon, highlighted by the light coming in from a window; they're set far enough away that you might not overhear them. Neither artist had to include the stove or the chair, but might have done so to help provide extra distance between the viewer and the subjects.

So given that, look at why someone would find these paintings interesting. Is it that there's a conversation going on that we have to imagine, but cannot hear? Do both of these paintings appeal to someone who likes to eavesdrop on others? Is there a universal desire being triggered? If so, was there influence? Did Bazille's painting ask a question that Rockwell tried to reinterpret, or is it simply that they both coincidentally wanted to dig into the same aspect of human nature in the same way?

I think it's a very relevant and interesting question; at least in this field. It might still be coincidence, but it might not. And we'll never know just by looking at the painting.

Re:A stretch (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 months ago | (#47699053)

Everything you say may indeed be true, but the point of the program is to find influences between artists, not similarities in their works.

Awful idea. (1)

eyelikepi (3788211) | about 2 months ago | (#47696185)

This can only lead to the Facebookization of the art world. No thank you.

algorithm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696475)

wow, pretty neat that some scientists can develop algorithms that can analyze different art styles. Cool. thanks for sharing the links.

Just like AI... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47696853)

we've heard about this nonsense for decades. The Republicans keep running their damn mouths and have for decades without producing anything of value. I guess this is close, but after fifty years of running their mouths, this is nearly enough. I wish they would just shut the fuck up. They woudl if you people would stop empowering them by doing their bidding. Just because they claim their xian moron in the sky said something doesn't mean you have to follow their orders. Fight back. Occupy was a great start, but it is starting to lose momentum.

Gimme a fucking break (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47697235)

Those pictures are supposedly similar because they both have people, a window, a chair, and a stove in them? Do you know how many thousands, if not millions, of pictures I can find that have the same basic setup? The painting of the pope looks like another painting of the pope, that was painted using the first one as a basis? Wow, obviously they are similar, Bacon used the one as a model. This is fucking stupid.

The software is clearly very basic (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 2 months ago | (#47697305)

>> In particular, the algorithm points out that Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton's Barber Shop painted in 1950 is remarkably similar to Frederic Bazille's Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine painted 80 years before.

Not at all. Apart from both being of (different sized) rooms painted from an approximately similar angle, there really is nothing else that is the same about the two paintings. It would appear that the computer is keying only off of very large features such as a general observation that a large lightsource of a simliar size and location is in both (but in one painting its half a window which is really a secondary subject, and in the other, a doorway to a room with a light in that is the primary subject). If the computer can only make decisions based on such broad generalisations, it really is pretty much useless.

Correlation does not imply causation. (2)

Thatto (258697) | about 2 months ago | (#47697695)

An algorithm scanned through images of works of art, and identified similarities. And that means what?

african art influence on cubism and surrealism (1)

fonske (1224340) | about 2 months ago | (#47698685)

It is well documented that the african art in beginning of 1900's started to be taken seriously through expositions. Picasso never made a secret of this influence.
Makonde wood carvings such as the ones with shetani on long legs, influenced Dali to paint those elephants on long legs.
On a funny note you should check out Martin Schwarz (for reference: Giger liked him a lot) work: he painted the mona lisa without the mona lisa - he found the background to be more inspiring.
Art is never a coincidence - this is the definition of art for me.
People forget the painstaking search of Pollock for the exact consistence of his paint.
Engineering projects are the biggest outbursts of art - when they get to show results, even if it are turds like from Wim Delvoye's "Cloaca".

Picasso and Braque influenced Klimt (1)

clovis (4684) | about 2 months ago | (#47699307)

From the article:
"They've developed an algorithm that has used these classifications to find many well known influences between artists, such as the well known influence of Pablo Picasso and George Braque on the Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, ..."

I never heard that before. In what way did Picasso and Braque influence Klimt's art?

Re:Picasso and Braque influenced Klimt (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 2 months ago | (#47700105)

I think it is unlikely that Klimt was influenced by Picasso. Picasso was 19 years younger than Klimt and by the time he became famous Klimt's had already established his style. The situation appears to be similar with Braque. I think the article's claim that "indeed experts are well acquainted with the idea that Klimt was influenced by both these artists" could be a mistake.

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