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When AI clarifies a mystery surrounding a famous painting by Raphael

© Lemon squeezer/Wikimedia Commons/Unsplash

For several months, artificial intelligence has occupied an increasingly important place in our daily lives. Whether we want it or not. Although some worry about the consequences of the rise of AI, it cannot be denied that artificial intelligence represents the future of computing. You might as well get used to it.

While it is now possible to protect a work against artificial intelligence, a study published by the University of Nottingham and reported by our colleagues at Journal du Geek clearly demonstrates the importance of intelligent use of AI.

For more than 200 years, a mystery has surrounded the painting The Virgin of the Rose or (Madonna della rosa in Italian) by Raphael. Indeed, the work is debated within the community of art amateurs and professionals. Some say that the Italian painter would not have painted this masterpiece alone. Today, an analysis carried out by artificial intelligence goes in this direction.

A painting that has raised doubts for 200 years

Like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael is one of the essential painters of the Italian Renaissance. If you are visiting Madrid in Spain and you like art, it is in your best interest to stop by the Prado Museum to observe the famous painting The Virgin of the Rose by Raphael. We see Mary with the Child Jesus as well as Joseph and little Saint John the Baptist.

When AI clarifies a mystery surrounding a famous painting by Raphael

The Virgin of the Rose by Raphael © Wikimedia Commons

Among all his works, this painting is at the heart of a two-centenary-old debate. Some experts argue that we should not give all the credit for The Virgin of the Rose to Raphael. Indeed, these specialists believe that the lower part of the painting, with the rose, is not by the hand of the great Master. Others point out that Joseph's features do not match Raphael's paw. Even today, these doubts remain, due to a lack of concrete proof. But artificial intelligence could clear all this up…

The Universities of Nottingham, Bradford and Stanford have commissioned artificial intelligence to analyze The Virgin of the Rose by Raphael. Thanks to machine learning, the algorithm of the tool used can be considered reliable. As Professor Hassan Ugail points out, it is capable of authenticating the painter's paintings with an accuracy of 98%.

But when it came to The Virgin of the Rose, the AI ​​was unable to decide. It was impossible for him to confirm that Raphael actually painted the painting. But there is no problem, there are only solutions. The researchers therefore had the table analyzed in several isolated parts. Most of the table was thus authenticated by artificial intelligence. But according to this AI, Joseph's face would not be from Raphael's hand.

Obviously, the AI's analysis should be taken with a pinch of salt and should not be does not constitute irrefutable proof. But it is still interesting given that the mystery surrounding this painting dates back several hundred years.

Raphael's apprentices behind this mystery?

This is nothing new: the great Masters of the Renaissance did not work alone. Indeed, most were surrounded by apprentices and assistants in a workshop, to help them with their paintings while teaching them the tricks of the trade. If for years The Virgin of the Rose was attributed to Raphael, and only him, it is likely that the painting was a collective work. It would therefore not be so surprising if Raphael did not paint Joseph's face for his painting The Virgin with the Rose.

Among those who could have painted Joseph's face, the name of his student Giulio Romano stands out. Gianfrancesco Penni could have contributed to the picture. But to prove that one of these two painters worked on The Virgin with the Rose, the AI ​​would have to analyze numerous works officially painted by their hands and they did not have the popularity of their master.

With this study, the Universities from Nottingham, Bradford and Stanford demonstrate the importance of artificial intelligence when used intelligently. In full development, this tool could prove to be extremely useful in the process of authenticating works of art.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116