Can AI Really Replace Rembrandt and Artists In General

Can AI Really Replace Rembrandt and Artists In General

I’ve personally made it my life goal to see as many of the 600 Rembrandts in person as I can physically before I knock off. Absolutely adore his paintings and I’ve spoken about them here in detail before. Can’t really explain it appropriately without standing in front of one with you. So I dig Rembrandt… but so too did ING and a pile of tech companies (including Microsoft, , who decided to try and create a virtual Rembrandt.

Rembrandt-CGI-1Which is just phenomenal to me. Now, granted, I can create a “new” Rembrandt in Photoshop I’m sure. By hacking up numerous paintings, I could glue them all together and sort them into a gorgeous pastiche of a painting the “style” of Rembrandt. But that is different from what happened here. (I think anyway.) Developers pulled together statistical analysis of a bunch of paintings and ascertained key characteristics of certain types of Rembrandt paintings (Caucasian, Male, Facial Hair, Facing Right, Hat, Collar, etc etc) and utilized that data to pull together information about how best to set this painting up. And then, they were able to utilize 3D scans of Rembrandt paintings to create a realistic painting physically.


The end result is interesting. I really would have to see it in person to get a good feel for how good of a job they were able to do. But from a distance, I find it very good. Don’t know if it has the same soul as a Rembrandt. But, I wouldn’t know that unless you told me it really was an official Rembrandt certified painting, and then ask my opinion. Which, I’m sure this technology will push the boundaries of, soon enough.

I can’t say whether I’m wigged out by the result or not.

Reminds me of Heather Dewey Hagborg¬†and her “art project” to recreate a person’s face from their dropped trash, and the DNA she found there. It is clever. And also amazing. And yet, sort of wrong? It would be cool to have an Instagram Rembrandt filter… I think… but I don’t know if I’m cool with people literally printing new Rembrandts out en masse. But maybe I’m insane?

One interesting point is whether or not computers, and algorithms will start cranking out perfect emulations¬†of Banksy, Matisse, Retna, Monet, Picasso, etc. I don’t prefer to pay 12 million for a certified original. But maybe I will spend $2,000 on a very realistic “in the style of” AI alternative. Heck, why not let me make myself the subject of the painting. Or tell it the parameters of the painting and let the computer glue it all together for you in the style of your favorite modernist? Sort of a Vending Machine for art? Woah. The rabbit hole is getting crazy now…

Personally I can’t decide. Well, regardless, here is the final product of the AI exercise if you didn’t watch the video. And if you’d like to learn more about the project, you can do so here.rembrandt-cgi-painting