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Computer algorithm picks history's 'most creative' paintings

Computer algorithm picks history s most creative paintings Wired UK


Computer scientists Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh from Rutgers University define creativity as "the originality of the product and its influential value", and used this definition to create a kind of "art network" based on how similar paintings are to earlier works. This barometer of originality, dubbed the "time machine experiment", looked at elements including everything from colour and texture to the type of scenes depicted.

The pair then applied these measurements to a database of some 62,000 paintings, and enabled the algorithm to draw parallels between these creative works, from more modern paintings to those from the distant past.

The paintings at the top of the chart are those judged by the algorithm to be more original, while those languishing towards the bottom have been rated to be more derivative. The results are interesting, if not altogether surprising; Edvard Munch's instantly recognisable The Scream is considered exceptional, along with Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's bold Yellow Still Life and Monet's serene Haystacks at Chailly at Sunrise. In contrast, works by some of the Old Masters, such as Ingres and Rodin, slip down the list -- perhaps simply proving the age-old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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