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Open Access Changes of Statistical Properties During the Creation of Graphic Artworks

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Changes of Statistical Properties During the Creation of Graphic Artworks

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During the creation of graphic artworks, we studied the evolution of higher-order statistical image properties (complexity, self-similarity, anisotropy of oriented luminance gradients, the slope of log–log plots of radially averaged Fourier power, and the fractal dimension). First, we analyzed two series of lithographs by Pablo Picasso, which represent transformations of highly aesthetic artworks. Second, one of the authors generated a dataset of 20 grayscale drawings using the computer as a drawing tool. The dataset comprised also the unfinished state images that were saved throughout the production process. The final states of the drawings were compared to versions of the same drawings, in which the constituent pictorial elements were shuffled, thereby diminishing the overall compositional intent of the artist. Results show that self-similarity was a property closely associated with artistic merit in the different types of images analyzed. In a psychological experiment, 20 non-expert participants evaluated the original abstract drawings as more harmonious and ordered but less interesting than the shuffled versions. Our study demonstrates that statistical image properties can be studied during the creation of artworks, if artistic and analytical processes are closely coordinated in a computer-based approach, which offers the possibility to produce appropriate control stimuli.

Affiliations: 1: Experimental Aesthetics Group, Institute of Anatomy I, University of Jena School of Medicine, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

10.1163/22134913-00002017
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During the creation of graphic artworks, we studied the evolution of higher-order statistical image properties (complexity, self-similarity, anisotropy of oriented luminance gradients, the slope of log–log plots of radially averaged Fourier power, and the fractal dimension). First, we analyzed two series of lithographs by Pablo Picasso, which represent transformations of highly aesthetic artworks. Second, one of the authors generated a dataset of 20 grayscale drawings using the computer as a drawing tool. The dataset comprised also the unfinished state images that were saved throughout the production process. The final states of the drawings were compared to versions of the same drawings, in which the constituent pictorial elements were shuffled, thereby diminishing the overall compositional intent of the artist. Results show that self-similarity was a property closely associated with artistic merit in the different types of images analyzed. In a psychological experiment, 20 non-expert participants evaluated the original abstract drawings as more harmonious and ordered but less interesting than the shuffled versions. Our study demonstrates that statistical image properties can be studied during the creation of artworks, if artistic and analytical processes are closely coordinated in a computer-based approach, which offers the possibility to produce appropriate control stimuli.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134913-00002017
2015-11-14
2017-09-26

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