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“Professor Johnson is the Featured Guest on NPR's Science Friday Show – May 18, 2007”

Friday, May 18, 2007

“… can number crunching determine whether art is authentic? We'll talk with a scientist (Professor Richard Johnson) who says that a technique called 'stylometry' may be able to distill the essence of an artist's technique down to a set of geometric data points. He met this week with representatives of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Can the technique determine whether a purported 'van Gogh' was really painted by the master? We'll run the numbers….”

-- NPR’s Science Friday

National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday® is a science talk show that can be heard each Friday afternoon, 2-4 p.m. on selected NPR stations.

Van Gogh's sunflower paintingScience of art:
Scientists say ‘stylometric’ analysis could tell if a version of a Van Gogh sunflower painting bought by a Japanese insurance company (left) is a forgery. At right is an authentic painting from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
-- AP



Related article:

Is that painting real? Ask a mathematician.
Engineers use a mathematical process dubbed 'stylometry' to set apart real Van Gogh paintings from forgeries.
-- By Elizabeth Svoboda | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

"On May 14, teams of engineers that Mr. Johnson recruited will meet with art students and curators at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to announce what they think sets real Van Gogh paintings apart from forgeries. By analyzing a database of 101 paintings by the artist and his known imitators, the scientists have arrived at what they say are key elements of Van Gogh's 'visual signature,' which can be distilled into numbers. This, they say, will give art experts an important new tool to assess works like 'Vase With Fifteen Sunflowers.' They can compare how closely a disputed painting's visual signature matches the baseline "signature" derived from the database."[read more]

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