Algorithms That Rate Creativity, The Future of Art Criticism?

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
The algorithm's results<br> courtesy Ahmed Elgammal, Babak Saleh, arxiv.org

Malevich scored highly
Photo: courtesy Ahmed Elgammal, Babak Saleh, arxiv.org

Art history academics and geeks, prepare to be disappointed: Scientists have developed a computer algorithm that accurately rates the creativity of artworks throughout history, with Pablo Picasso, Kazimir Malevich, and Edvard Munch coming out top.

The algorithm analyzed 63,000 artworks from the WikiArt.org database, comparing color, texture, use of contrast, and perspective. It then cross-referenced these results with other artworks created in the same period.

The program ranked The Scream (1893-1910) by Edvard Munch and Demoiselles D’Avingnon (1907) by Picasso as being some of the most creative paintings ever produced. The most creative painter turned out to be Fernando Calhau.

Although many of the most highly ranked paintings are considered to be masterpieces by today’s standards, there were also some surprises, with Garden at les Lauves (1906) by Paul Cézanne receiving a very low score from the computer program.

“In most cases the results of the algorithm are pieces of art that art historians indeed highlight as innovative and influential,” the creators of the algorithm, Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh, said on arxiv.org. “The algorithm achieved this assessment by visual analysis of paintings and considering their dates only.”

The algorithm also showed spikes in periods of creativity throughout history, with the 16th century high Renaissance period, the late 19th century, and the early 20th century rating highly.

The algorithm's results courtesy Ahmed Elgammal, Babak Saleh, arxiv.org

The algorithm’s results
Photo via: arxiv.org

Edvard Munch, "The Scream" (1910)

The program loved Edvard Munch’s The Scream (1893-1910)
Photo via: Wikipedia

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1907)
Photo via: Wikipedia

Paul Cezanne <i>The Garden at Les Lauves</i> (1906)<br> Photo: Wiki Art

Paul Cezanne The Garden at Les Lauves (1906) was rated very low
Photo via: Wiki Art


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