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Computer Vision for Art History

Is it possible for a machine to recognise what is in a painting?

Here I have used the computer vision machine learning model Mask R-CNN to perform object detection on several famous paintings from art history.

The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the world's most recognisable paintings. The painting represents the scene of the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles, as it is told in the Gospel of John, 13:21. Leonardo has depicted the conversation that occurred among the Twelve Apostles when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him.
The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo Da Vinci shows Mary and the child Jesus with the infant John the Baptist and an angel. There are two versions, one at the Louvre and one at The National Gallery in London. The painting shows Mary with her right arm around the infant St John who is making a gesture of prayer to the Christ child. This painting is regarded as a perfect example of Leonardo's "sfumato" technique.
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632 by Rembrandt. In the work, Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is pictured explaining the anatomy of the arm to medical professionals. Some of the spectators are various doctors who paid commissions to be included in the painting.
Simeon's Song of Praise by Rembrandt is in the Mauritshuis and was painted in 1631!
Prisoners Exercising by Vincent Van Gogh was painted while Van Gogh was heavily depressed and in an asylum in Saint-Rémy. “The circular trudge of the watched-over men so perfectly captures the mental rat runs the artist felt trapped in. It is directly inspired by a depiction of Newgate exercise yard by one of Van Gogh’s favourite artists, the London-based print-maker Gustave Doré”, Skye Sherwin describes from the Guardian.
The Bedroom by Vincent Van Gogh was painted while he was in Arles this painting of his bedroom in the Yellow House.

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