Research press release


Scientific Reports

Art: The evolution of painting styles


今回、Hawoong Jeongたちは、デジタル画像技術を用いて11世紀から19世紀中期までの合計8798点の西洋絵画における個々の色の使用状況、色の多様性、明度の幅を調べた。これらの絵画は、美術史の10区分(中世、初期ルネサンス、北方ルネサンス、盛期ルネサンス、マニエリスム、バロック、ロココ、新古典主義、ロマン主義、写実主義)に分類された。



Paintings have been getting more colourful and more complex in terms of brightness and contrast since the Medieval period, a study in Scientific Reports demonstrates. Digital analysis of nearly 9,000 paintings spanning 10 historical periods (over 800 years) depicts changes in artists’ pallets and identifies signatures that correspond with the development of new painting techniques.

Using digital imaging techniques, Hawoong Jeong and colleagues investigate the use of individual colours, the variety of colours, and the variation in brightness of 8,798 western paintings dating from the 11th century to the mid-19th century. The paintings are classified into 10 historical periods: Medieval, Early Renaissance, Northern Renaissance, High Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism.

The analyses quantify the colour palette expansion in the European painting art history after the Medieval period, which was caused by the introduction of oil paints and new kinds of color pigments. Increasing brightness contrast picked up by the analyses reflect the development of painting techniques during the Renaissance, such as sfumato (expressing gradual fade-out between object and background, used by Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519) and chiaroscuro (strong contrasts between light and dark, used by Rembrandt van Rijin, 1606-1669).

The authors propose that their use of scientific techniques to analyse paintings provides a bridge between the worlds of art and science.

doi: 10.1038/srep07370


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