Scientists Create a New Rembrandt Painting, Using a 3D Printer & Data Analysis of Rembrandt's Body of Work


All of us who saw Jurassic Park as kids, no matter how much skepticism we'd precociously developed, surely spent at least a moment wondering if science could actually bring dinosaurs back to life by pulling the DNA out of their blood trapped in amber-preserved mosquitoes. It turns out that it can't -- at least not yet! Even so, people have long disagreed about whether to call the visual resurrection of dinosaurs in the service of a blockbuster adventure movie a work of art. But what if we used the even more powerful data analysis and computer graphics technology now at our disposal specifically for the purpose of generating a masterpiece, or at least a piece by a master -- by Rembrandt, say? A project called The Next Rembrandt has aimed to do just that with its attempt "to distill the artistic DNA of Rembrandt" using everything from building and analyzing "an extensive analysis of his paintings [ … ] pixel by pixel," to performing a demographic study determining his conclusive portrait subject ("a Caucasian male with facial hair, between the ages of thirty and forty, wearing black clothes with a white collar and a hat, facing to the right"), to creating a height map to mimic his physical brush strokes.