Visual Image Statistics in the History of Western Art

Mather, George (2018) Visual Image Statistics in the History of Western Art. Art and Perception, 6 . ISSN 2213-4913

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Visual Image Statistics in the History of Western Art

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Abstract

The history of Western visual art is traditionally divided into a succession of stylistic movements on the basis of the art-historical provenance and visual qualities of artworks. Little is known about how the visual statistics of Western artworks has changed over time, though this data could inform debate about the transitions between art movements. This longitudinal statistical study shows that two measures of the statistics of Western paintings remained relatively stable for 500 years, and similar to the values found in photographic images depicting the same subjects. Dramatic changes began in the late nineteenth century between the years 1878 and 1891, when the statistics of artworks became steadily more variable, and more frequently departed from values that are typical of representational images. This period can be considered as a major turning point that marks the beginning of the Modern Art movement. Statistically, abstract Modern art is more diverse than the representational art of any period. There is only limited evidence that aesthetic responses to paintings bear any relation to their visual statistics.

Keywords:Image statistics, Visual art, Fractal dimension
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:32277
Deposited On:27 Jun 2018 20:18

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