New "Rembrandt" artwork created using data, tech

Posted at 7:08 AM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 08:52:09-04

If technology could bring an artist back to life--in the sense of their work-- what would that look like?

A team of experts took a seemingly impossible task and made it happen using data analysis and technology.

The project is called The Next Rembrandt.

A host of collaborators including Microsoft and financial institution ING came together to bring back the great artist's technique and style to create one more painting 347 years after his death.

According to the project's website, Rembrandt's entire collection of work was first studied pixel by pixel with the help of 3D scans and digital files.

Since Rembrandt mostly painted portraits, those works became the focus.

The team concluded a fitting next Rembrandt would likely be a portrait of a Caucasian male with facial hair between 30 and 40 years old. He would be wearing black clothes with a white collar and a hat, and probably facing to the right.

Using a specific algorithm, the team notes in a video, they were able to extract common features from the portraits, like a typical Rembrandt eye, nose, ear..etc. 

A specially designed software system then replicated his style -taking into consideration everything from composition to Rembrandt's painting materials.

Textured brush strokes were also reflected in the work thanks to a height map and 3D printer using paint-based ink. 

"You could say that we used technology and data like Rembrandt used his paints and his brushes to create something new," said Microsoft's Ron Augustus in the project video.