Renaissance master Raphael achieved new heights of human artistic talent. But artificial intelligence (AI) suggests he didn’t paint some of his famous works of art entirely by himself. A recent AI analysis of famous Raphael paintings, including The Madonna della Rosa painting, indicates an assistant likely painted one of the faces.
Who Was Raphael?
During the Italian Renaissance, Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo and others created groundbreaking realistic artworks. Their masterful use of composition, anatomy and perspective was praised around the world. Raphael was especially renowned for capturing a new level of ethereal beauty in his Madonna and angel paintings.
Did Raphael Really Paint Madonna della Rosa By Himself? AI Isn’t So Sure
Ask any art historian and they will tell you that even the best artists rarely worked solo on complex religious works. Masters would often design the overall layout and paint key figures, while apprentices handled background, repeating elements, etc. Subtle style differences can imply a change of painters. And AI can now detect such transitions computationally.
In Raphael’s 1518-1520 Madonna della Rosa painting, the authenticity of the lesser figures has been debated since the 1800s. While the Madonna and Child meet Raphael’s genius, critics have been questioning the inferior quality of Saint Joseph’s image in the left corner for years. Computational analysis agrees with these critics.
Researchers trained an AI system on Raphael’s authenticated brushstrokes, colors and style. It scanned the painting holistically and by individual faces. As expected, the central Madonna and infants matched Raphael. However, the AI wasn’t able to match Saint Joseph’s face to Raphael’s painting style. It appears Raphael tackled the main characters while an assistant painted the St. Joseph.
How Does AI Know Raphael Painting Styles?
With enough training on an artist’s particular quirks and style, neural networks can detect the work of different artists. The AI likely noticed variations in color, stroke technique and texture invisible to the human eye. This takes nothing away from Raphael’s brilliance as an artist. But, he probably didn’t paint The Madonna of the Rose by himself.
Can AI Filtering Find More Secrets In Classic Artwork?
With AI still mostly in its early stages, in the future, AI technology will continue to help resolve long-standing debates about legendary works of art where assistants probably didn’t get enough credit for their supporting roles. AI can also help detect forgeries and parody art. It will be interesting to see what AI discovers next and how the art industry responds.
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