The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1253 Monday, 14 June 2004
Date: Sunday, 13 Jun 2004 19:35:56 -0400
Subject: A Computer That Has an Eye for Van Gogh
This is far a field of the list's Shakespeare focus, but it may be of
interest to members interested in attribution theory.
A Computer That Has an Eye for Van Gogh
June 13, 2004
By DOUGLAS HEINGARTNER
WHO can say for sure that a great artwork is the real deal? It depends
on whom you ask, and when: attributions of authorship often flip-flop
from generation to generation, and a painting's journey from real to not
real and back again can mean windfall profits for the lucky and despair
for those who sell - or buy - too soon.
Considering the sums at stake, you might think the business of art
authentication would have long ago given way to modern technology. But
so far, sophisticated techniques like spectrometry, DNA testing and
pigment analysis have failed to supplant expert opinion.
Now a team of researchers at the University of Maastricht, here in the
Netherlands, are taking a stab at rationalizing connoisseurship, a word
that in its art-historical context refers to the formal process of
determining who created a work of art. They have developed a computer
system that quickly examines hundreds of paintings for telltale
patterns. The results, they say, can lend credence to existing
attributions or help dismiss them.
[ . . . ]
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