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Digitalization of Art

The 20th century is often referred to as the century of physics. From x-rays to the semiconductor industry, the human society today would indeed be very different were it not for the progress made in physics laboratories around the world [1]. What the past 100 years have been for science, the past millennium has been for the arts. From the late Byzantine and Islamic art to Renaissance, Realism and Pop art, the past 1000 years are packed with the most productive periods of our creative existence. The availability of digitized visual artworks allows us to perform large-scale quantitative analysis of the history of art. We have analyzed almost 140,000 visual artworks [2], the majority of which were paintings, by more than 2,300 artists created between the years 1031 and 2016. Based on the complexity and entropy of spatial patterns in the artworks, we were able to hierarchically categorize the artworks on a scale of order-disorder and simplicity-complexity, ultimately revealing a clear temporal evolution of the artworks that coincides with the main historical periods of art. Our research indicates a shift in data science, away from semantics towards the quantification of more subjective properties of artworks like aesthetics and beauty [3].


[1] M. Perc, Sci. Rep. 3, 1720 (2013) [2] H. Y. D. Sigaki, M. Perc, H. V. Ribeiro, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, E8585-E8594 (2018) [3] M. Perc, J. R. Soc. Interface 17, 20190686 (2020)

Matjaž Perc
University of Maribor and Alma Mater Europaea ECM


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