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Computers Viewing Artists at Work



Russell A. Kirsch, Sanford P. Ressler, J Kirsch


Our title suggests an Artificial Intelligence approach to the use of computers in the fine arts. We consider computers to have capabilities beyond the utilitarian ones of aiding in art making. Rather, we will investigate the possibility of computers seeing, even understanding, significant form in art. This understanding cannot rise autonomously, but must be the product of careful tutelage by artists, critics, and historians. A powerful tutorial mechanism to use for computers to learn about art is the picture grammar, which allows large classes of compositional structures to be described to a computer by the scholar who has a deep undemanding of the art works. In this paper, we illustrate how a machine can be taught the compositional structure of the paintings of the contemporary artist Richard Diebenkorn. With such grammatical instruction, the computer can analyze existing paintings, generate new ones of the same style, and provide a beginning to a computational theory of style.
NATO ASI, Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg


art form, artificial intelligence, computers, formalism


Kirsch, R. , Ressler, S. and Kirsch, J. (1988), Computers Viewing Artists at Work, NATO ASI, Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created December 31, 1987, Updated October 12, 2021