Simply Choose an Algorithm

“A team of technologists working with Microsoft and others have produced a 3D-printed painting in the style of Dutch master Rembrandt. The portrait was created after existing works by the artist were analysed by a computer.

“A new work was then designed to look as much like a Rembrandt as possible – while remaining an original portrait. It was then 3D-printed to give it the same texture as an oil painting.

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“We really wanted to understand what makes a face look like a Rembrandt,” Emmanuel Flores, director of technology for the project, told the BBC.

“After they had been digitally tagged by humans, data on Rembrandt’s paintings was gathered by computers which discovered patterns in how the Dutch master would, for example, characteristically shape a subject’s eyes in his portraits.

“Then, machine-learning algorithms were developed which could output a new portrait mirroring Rembrandt’s style.

“To limit the many possible results to a specific type of individual, the computer was asked to produce a portrait of a Caucasian male between the ages of 30 and 40, with facial hair, wearing black clothes with a white collar and a hat, facing to the right. “We found that with certain variations in the algorithm, for example, the hair might be distributed in different ways,” explained Mr Flores.

“But humans didn’t decide the final look and feel of the final portrait – they simply chose algorithms based on their efficiency and let the computer come up with the finished result.

Text: Computer paints ‘new Rembrandt’ after old works analysis, BBC News

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait, c. 1636-38, Dutch, 1606-1669. Oil on panel
panel: 24-7/8 x 19-7/8 in. (63.2 x 50.5 cm); framed: 32-1/2 x 27-1/2 in. (82.6 x 69.9 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation © The Norton Simon Foundation

“A research panel has exposed 50 paintings as falsely attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn, the 17th-century Dutch master, the group announced Friday. Among the exposed paintings are a 1637 portrait of Rembrandt, on display in the Norton-Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., and the 1635 “Landscape with Carriage,” owned by the Wallace Collection in London.The Norton-Simon Museum acquired the portrait, which the panel attributes to Rembrandt contemporary Carel Fabritius, for about $3.8 million in 1969, the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool reported. A spokeswoman with the Norton-Simon Museum said the museum was unshaken by the finding and the portrait would remain on exhibit. “We are going to leave the Rembrandt on display. We don’t endorse the methods of the research project,” said Vicky Rogers, reading from a prepared statement.”

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