The fractal dimension of modern art

Mather, George (2018) The fractal dimension of modern art. In: Vision Science of Art Conference, 24-26 August 2018, Trieste, Italy.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive


BACKGROUND Are the boundaries between traditional representational painting and Modern art indistinct, or was Modernism a radical new visual direction in Western art? Some artists and art historians regard the boundaries as indistinct, because all painting is an abstraction from reality. The Fractal Dimension (FD) of 542 paintings dated 1285-2008 was measured in the search for clues to the answer.

RESULTS Trends in FD over time indicate that Modernism started around 1878, with Neo- and Post-Impressionism: The FD values of 323 artworks up to 1878 are close to the values found in photographs of similar subjects, whereas the FD of 219 paintings after 1878 are significantly more diverse. The Modern paintings can be divided into abstract (93) and representational artworks (126). They are both significantly more diverse in FD than the pre-Modern artworks. Modern abstract art is also significantly more diverse than Modern representational art. Aesthetic ratings of Modern art are not as diverse as their FD values.

CONCLUSION Measurements of FD indicate that Modern art truly was a significant departure from pre-Modern art, and beauty ratings are not closely dependent on image statistics. Perhaps Modern art places more emphasis on non-visual, conceptual qualities rather than visual aesthetics.

Keywords:Modern art, fractal dimension
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:33416
Deposited On:19 Oct 2018 20:33

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