Photo of a cup of paintbrushes against a brightly painted background

Science Café Cleveland: “Discerning the Painter’s Hand: Using Machine Learning on the Surface Topography of Art”

Join Sigma Xi, Case Western Reserve University’s scientific research honor society, on Monday, March 14, at 7 p.m. for a lecture, titled “Discerning the Painter’s Hand: Using Machine Learning on the Surface Topography of Art.”

The texture of individual brushstrokes in a painting leaves a potential “fingerprint” of the artist who wielded the brush. Michael Hinczewski, the Warren E. Rupp Associate Professor of Physics at Case Western Reserve, and his team have been developing machine learning techniques to identify these fingerprints in surface topography data from paintings. This technique has the potential to enable artistic attribution from small regions of a canvas—particularly useful for disentangling different contributors to historical paintings created by large workshops.

During the lecture, Hinczewski will discuss his controlled experiments with student paintings to validate his approach, as well as future plans to analyze paintings from the workshop of the Spanish Renaissance artist El Greco. Hinczewski’s research is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the CWRU departments of physics, art and art history, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art, and Factum Foundation in Madrid. 

Connect to the session by following the Zoom address linked on the Facebook event page.