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Sunday, December 21st 2008

12:50 PM

They say the Computers say no.

They say the Computers say no, but that is not what I read.


The ability of computers to analyse complex digital images is growing rapidly. Robots are being fitted with powerful vision systems that enable them to recognize and hold things.

Computers can scan satellite images of the Earth for tiny features, or search pictures from deep space for strange objects. They can analyse medical images to find out what might be going on inside a human body. Now digital imaging is starting to figure out how to spot art forgeries, too.

 Well,... isn't this amazing, after all these years of these new technologies being around and available for use, and are now just coming into the field of spotting art forgeries.

Science has long been used to help authenticate works of art. Technicians can date paint from its chemical composition, for example, or x-ray a canvas to reveal what lies below the surface. In recent years, however, the art itself has come under more scientific scrutiny, especially through the analysis of brushstrokes. The idea is to establish an artist's 'handwriting' to help experts attribute paintings.

Who the hell is writing this article,.... a MFA expert?  If this new Idea ever takes hold to establish an artist's brushstrokes to coincide with his own handwriting analysis, some one will haft to re-write the certain act which was written up by attorneys to help protect all of these past experts who have pasted their judgments onto others. I'M talking about this problem we have today which the lawyers have made it almost impossible to render scientific-expert testimony, unless one can meet all of the criteria under the Daubert standard. Not many are willing to risk an entire lifetime of credibility in an area about which they have little background and knowledge even though they may be handwriting experts.  http://vanrijngo.bravejournal.com/entry/20522

One of the most comprehensive studies using such methods was published recently in Signal Processing Magazine, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. James Wang of Penn State University and his colleagues from other universities analyzed the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, with the assistance of the Van Gogh and Kroller-Muller museums in the Netherlands.

Yes, now we are talking about using methods which will assist these MFA experts into making more of correct decisions of who exactly an artist may have been, especially since brush strokes and hand writings can now be analyzed by computers to tell a more exacting story.

The researchers used high-resolution images, made in shades of grey, of 101 paintings which were either by Van Gogh or in his style. Of these, 82 have consistently been attributed to the Dutch painter, and a further six are known to have been painted by others. (Experts cannot agree who painted the remaining 13 pictures.)

First off,.... what good are these methods of analyzing if they cannot be taken literally for the comparisons.

From these paintings, 23 were selected because they were known unquestionably to be by Van Gogh and because they represented different periods of his life, during which his style changed. These paintings were used to 'train' computers running image-analysis software about how the artist painted. Scans of small areas of the paintings were taken for individual analysis, so the software could identify the recurrent use of certain brushstroke patterns and other features. The resulting data were used to build a mathematical model of Van Gogh's style against which the other paintings could be tested.

First off they are not training computers to see with these software's of how artists painted. The computers themselves using these software's will pick out the brushstrokes and handwriting idiosyncrasies of artists to compare to other known idiosyncrasies from certain artists.  Believe me,... the copyists do not stand a chance in hell of being mistaken for the actual artists, be it Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt or anyone else.

The model had some success. For instance, when two known Van Goghs, 'The Plough and the Harrow' and 'Wheatfield with Crows', were used for training, the system indicated that among the paintings that closely resembled them was 'The Sea at Saintes-Maries', a fake commissioned or sold by Otto Wacker, a German art dealer. But when the image analysis was repeated at a greater level of detail, the Wacker forgery was shown to be different. Ultimately the software correctly identified four of the six paintings known not to be by Van Gogh, though it also classified two of his works as having been painted by someone else.

Well, just maybe we have a true tale to tell with this little bit of news coming out here.  They said 'The Sea at Saintes-Maries' a fake commissioned or sold by Otto Wacker, a German art dealer closely resembled 'The Plough and the Harrow' and 'Wheatfield with Crows'.  If people can remember correctly, this Otto Wacker scandal involve way more Vincent van Gogh's than this particular painting, and was to have come from a Russian Count who wanted to remain not publicly known. 

The researchers describe their results so far as 'encouraging, but not perfect'. Computerized image-processing systems should get better at detecting forgeries as they are trained to recognize further aspects of artists' styles, says Wang. He and his colleagues are now using images taken at other wavelengths, including ultraviolet, to analyse different aspects of Van Gogh's brushwork.

When they find out that these technologies is unfaultable when reaching final decisions in this MFA world,.... who will really benefit, the ones trying to sell what they have or the new buyers.

Interest has been shown in using image analysis to help find forgeries of other artists. The bigger the body of an artist's known work, the more accurate the system should be, because it will have more examples to learn from. But however good computers get at classifying paintings, they are likely to remain only one of the tools used to detect forgeries. Although the researchers are certain that technology can provide some answers to riddles about whose hand was responsible for a particular work, they also concede that human experts will have the final say.

I personally would rather doubt it, other than the auctioneer telling the new buyer what he or she is buying or a museum worker telling a patron who the artist really was.


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