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RESCHEDULED Ken Singer et al (CWRU Physics and Art History)

Date: Thu. March 26th, 2020, 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

New date to be determined

Data Science in Art: Discerning the Painter’s Hand

Ken Singer, Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics


Michael Hinczewski, Assistant Professor of Physics

Ina Martin, Senior Research Associate (Physics), Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Betsy Bolman, Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts and Chair, Department of Art History and Art 

The Departments of Art History and Art, Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Art have been collaborating to investigate the application of machine learning (ML) to artist attribution based on confocal optical profilometry data from student-produced painting via the brushstroke texture.  A convolutional neural network was applied to classify the surface topography among several students’ paintings.  By specifying the painted subject and materials for the students, we were able to carry out a controlled study of various ML approaches including the efficacy of transfer learning as well as scaling, normalization and other pre-training analyses. We were able to confidently attribute paintings among multiple hands, with potentially significant implications for the art historical field of connoisseurship. To this end, we are now collaborating with the internationally-renown Factum Arte, in a project to apply ML on surface topography in order to test the ability of our techniques to distinguish among the hands of El Greco, his son Jorge, and members of his workshop. Additional avenues of collaboration include applying optical methods for producing non-destructive cross-sections of art works and other art conservation techniques.

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