3D Visualization of distances between paintings by Van Gogh and other artists

This is a webpage companion of the report presented by the ``Princeton group'' at the May 2007 International Workshop on Image Processing for Artist Identification (Proceedings), held at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The research for this report was carried out in Spring 2007 by Eugene Brevdo and Shannon Hughes, graduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and their advisor Ingrid Daubechies, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics, Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University

The dataset, on which this study was based, consisted of high-resolution 16-bit gray-scale scans of 101 paintings in the collections of the Van Gogh Musuem and the Kroller-Muller Museum, which the two museums had graciously provided, for scholarly study, to the research teams participating in the Workshop.

One of the results of our research was the definition of a dissimilarity metric, derived from parameters characterizing a hidden Markov tree model of the wavelet transforms of the paintings, aiming to distinguish paintings by Van Gogh from those by other painters. In order to visualize the results, 3-dimensional models were constructed that respected, as much as possible, the inter-painting dissimilarity distances of 73 paintings in the data set. The movies presented here show rotating representations of these 3-dimensional arrangements. In both cases, red dots mark the paintings in the data set that are not by Van Gogh -- some of them were always known to be by other artists, others were at some earlier time attributed to Van Gogh but have been de-attributed since; the latter category includes one of the infamous Wacker forgeries.

This movie shows the model corresponding to a dissimilarity distance based on only one parameter characterizing the statistics of wavelet transforms of the individual paintings. Many of the non-Van Gogh paintings are situated near the outskirts of the "cloud" of paintings, but some of them (in particular the wacker forgery) are still faily close to the center.
This movie shows the model corresponding to a dissimilarity distance based on only two parameters characterizing the statistics of wavelet transforms of the individual paintings. Now all the non-Van Gogh paintings (including the forgery) have moved away from the center of the cloud.