Artificial Intelligence Can Now Spot Art Forgeries by Comparing Brush Strokes

Could artificial intelligence be the end of the dubious science of connoisseurship? According to a new study, a form of AI called a recurrent neural network may now be able to identify forged paintings.

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Researchers from New Jersey’s Rutgers University and the Atelier for Restoration & Research of Paintings in the Netherlands have published their findings in a paper, titled “Picasso, Matisse, or a Fake?

Automated Analysis of Drawings at the Stroke Level for Attribution and Authentication.” The AI was able to find fake artworks simply by comparing the strokes used to compose the image.

Determining the authenticity of a work of art has long been a considerable challenge. The branch of authentication known as connoisseurship endeavors to identify an artist’s stylistic trademarks. There is a slew of more technical methods as well; a canvas can be taken to a lab for a full battery of tests, such as infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography, and radiometric dating.

The technical analysis can only provide so much information, and the human experts ultimately must trust their gut when it comes to determining whether a piece is the real deal, a worthless forgery, or simply by the hand of another artist.

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