Poster Session II Saturday (even numbers)

ID Poster
Isamu Motoyoshi: Style classification of classical European paintings with CNN

We previously analyzed the style of Western classical paintings based on low-level image statistics (Motoyoshi, 2019, VSAC). In the present study, we employed ‘style’ information of CNN (Gatys et al., 2015) to analyze painting styles with deeper features. We extracted the Gram matrices in five layers of VGG19 for 18330 paintings by 2545 painters in Western Europe from the 15-19th centuries, and applied MDS to visualize the relationships between paintings in a two-dimensional plane. In the resulting MDS plane, the first dimension appeared to represent the density of motifs in the pictures, and the second dimension the lightness-darkness of the background. We found several clusters according to techniques (oil, fresco, tempera) and to subject (history, mythology, portrait, landscape, etc.), but not to regional category (Italy, Dutch, etc.). The overall distribution of paintings on the MDS plane changed systematically, synchronizing decrease (e.g., religious) or the increase (e.g., landscapes) of specific subjects. Even within individual subjects, however, we found a trend toward darker and sparser styles from the 15th century to the early 16th century. This trend seemed to be consistent with the differences between Northern Netherlandish painting and the Italian Renaissance. In addition, for 69 most famous masters, we performed a cluster analysis based on average Gram matrix for each painter, and found five clusters: (A) Landscape, (B) Fresco, (C) Northern Renaissance, (D) Grand Manners, (E) Chiaroscuro/Tenebrism, with A-B and C-D-E forming larger clusters. The earliest painters in each style cluster were Goyen (A), Masaccio (B), van Eyck (C), Bellini and da Vinci (D), and Caravaggio (E), respectively. These results are broadly consistent with interpretations in traditional studies of art history, and also suggest some unexpected observations, suggesting that CNN style information can be useful in classifying painting styles and analyzing their historical evolution.

Margot Dehove: Walk with me through the Viennese streets

This poster will present key findings from a field experiment on an art intervention constructed in urban environment. With urban populations growing rapidly and everyday life also being linked with a range of health-related issues, it is becoming more crucial to understand how our cities could be designed to be more considerate of its citizen’s wellbeing. Past literature highlights a positive effect of urban green spaces (e.g., plants, trees, parks, etc) on wellbeing. In recent years, increasing evidence also points to the contribution of art towards wellbeing. Despite this, the effect of implementing art in an urban context has received little attention. Mitschke et al. (2017) is one of the few studies to investigate how people perceive art in an everyday setting in terms of how aesthetic evaluation influences viewing behaviour. The aim of the present study is thus to investigate the impact of artistic installations in public urban spaces on attention and wellbeing. We built two temporary parking-lot sized interventions on two Viennese city streets, either equipped with artworks or greenery. Participants then freely explored the street environment where the intervention was placed, while their eye movements and physiological reactions were recorded. With my contribution to the conference, I will present the paradigm we used in more detail, as well as a discussion of the first results.

Lisa Kossmann: Saliency and strength of mirror symmetry in images of artworks in relation to appreciation and domputational metrics

The relationship between mirror symmetry and aesthetic appreciation has intrigued vision scientists, empirical esthetics researchers and artists alike, but concrete evidence remains somewhat elusive to this day. In this multidisciplinary project, we investigate human symmetry detection for 100 images of artworks and relate these behavioral data to aesthetic appreciation and computational metrics. Participants were asked to place a rectangular bounding box around an image region they perceived as mirror-symmetric and to indicate the axis of symmetry. They could place as many boxes as they saw fit. For each of them, they also rated the perceived saliency of the region (i.e., how much it popped-out from the background) and the strength of the symmetry (i.e., from rather imperfect to almost perfect symmetry). Statistical analysis of 2839 symmetries by 23 participants so far reveals that participants selected bigger regions of symmetry first and rated them higher on salience and strength of symmetry. Vertical axes of symmetry were most frequently indicated (around 80%). We used different metrics for image quality assessment to compute symmetry accuracy scores for the bounding boxes, revealing large discrepancies between participant ratings and objectively computed symmetry strength. These discrepancies between human and computational symmetry assessment emphasize the need to go beyond computer vision and employ deep learning models. Aesthetic liking of the images, rated by a different pool of observers, seems to be independent from both strength and saliency ratings (correlations <.1). This could be because mirror symmetry is only one aspect of good composition. Human data collection is still ongoing, including aesthetic judgements from the same participants. Additionally, we will train a deep learning model on symmetry detection and figure-ground segmentation, which we will present alongside these findings.
Open data and methods:
Acknowledgment: This work is funded by an ERC Advanced Grant (No. 101053925) awarded to JW.

Dana Gudrun Rottleb: Cupid stealing attention – An eye tracking study of Vermeer’s ‘Girl reading a letter at a window’

“Girl reading a letter at a window” is an oil painting by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). A major restoration completed in 2021 revealed a painting of Cupid on the back wall that had been overpainted with homogeneous brown paint after Vermeer’s death. The discovery of this painting within a painting changed not only the interpretation, but also the composition of the artwork. Here, we performed an eye tracking study on digital representations of the painting to investigate how the restoration altered the way people perceive this artwork. We defined five areas of interest (foreground, reader, window, letter, and cupid/wall). 19 naïve lay people were asked to look at the older version of the painting showing a blank wall in the background (version 1), the restored version, depicting a painting of Cupid (version 2), as well as both versions side-by-side while we monitored their eye movements. Participants then decided on which version they preferred. Overall, most fixations were on the reader and the window. As expected, we found less fixations on the overpainted wall in version 1 as compared to the Cupid in version 2. Fixations on Cupid in version 2 were more numerous when it was shown after version 1. Furthermore, the number of fixations on the foreground and the letter remained rather stable, while less fixations occurred on window and reader. When shown side-by-side, people looked more frequently at version 2. However, the majority of participants preferred version 1. Our results show that the Cupid receives more attention if participants are aware of version 1 and that attention is drawn from the reader and the window. Furthermore, we show that, without knowledge of the artwork’s history, lay people favored version 1, the painting without Cupid.

Helene Gunhild Schaefermeyer: This isn’t art – Individual views on genuineness are related to what people consider as artworks

Philosophers often argue that genuineness (i.e., the qualities of an original work of art as opposed to a reproduction of an artwork) is crucial for aesthetic appreciation and aesthetic experiences. However, it is largely unknown how lay people view the genuineness of artworks. To address this question, we asked 100 participants to answer three questions on genuineness. Participants had to decide whether a perfect copy of an artwork is equal to the artwork itself, whether an artwork loses its status as an artwork after it is destroyed, and whether artworks possess an aura that is only conceivable when beholders are directly confronted with the artwork. From the answers, we created a combined genuineness-score (CGS) for each participant. A high CGS score reflects that a participant appreciates the meaningfulness of the genuineness of artworks while a low score reflects that a participant does not value the genuineness of artworks. 25 participants were consistent in their answers (12x perfect high score, 13x perfect low score). The same participants were asked to classify 50 items from different categories (paintings, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, performance art, film, design objects, antiques, nature, other) as “artwork” or “no artwork”. Participants with low CGS classified more items as artworks. CGS correlated negatively with art classification of items from the categories music, literature, and film. Our results show that lay people are split on the question on whether the genuineness of artworks is relevant. Additionally, we show that people who appreciate the meaningfulness of genuineness classify less items as artworks.

Noha Abdelrahman: Is imagination necessary for emotional engagement with verbal storytelling?

Recent evidence suggesting that visualization is an ‘emotional amplifier’ has several potentially important implications, including improved treatment of PTSD (by decreasing the vividness of imagery of intrusive thoughts) and better decision making (increasing the vividness of imagery of a delayed reward). To assess how essential imagination is for engagement with verbal storytelling, we are recruiting participants with various degrees of vividness of mental imagery, and measuring their degree of emotional engagement while hearing or seeing emotionally charged excerpts from a novel. Participants were rated for vividness of imagery using the Vividness of Mental Imagery Questionnaire (modified VVIQ; Marks, 1973). Aphantasia is the inability to generate mental images, which is operationally defined as a low VVIQ score (16-23 out of a maximum of 80, Zeman et al. 2020). Hyperphantasia is the ability to generate extremely vivid mental images, operationally defined as having a high score (75-80). Participants were recruited from the general population on Prolific, and from self-identified aphantasics and hyperphantasics on Reddit. Our stimuli included 6 different emotionally charged excerpts from novels (in the format of audiobook), and 6 equivalent scenes from the movie and tv adaptations. Each participant experienced an audio block and a visual block in random order. Each block consisted of 3 snippets in random order. The Narrative Engagement Questionnaire assessed the level of emotional engagement (Busselle and Bilandzic, 2009). We have results from 6 of a planned 24 participants. Finding a positive (or zero) correlation between vividness of mental imagery and narrative emotional engagement would indicate that imagination is (or is not) necessary for emotional engagement with verbal storytelling.

Martyna Olszewska: Creative mind & soul: The link between aesthetic sensitivity, creativity and flow (research proposal)

Aesthetic sensitivity is often described as the ability to recognize and appreciate beauty, compositional excellence, and to judge artistic merit according to standards of aesthetic value. The new approach to aesthetic sensitivity considers the degree to which someone’s aesthetic valuation is under the influence of a given feature. Recent study showed a link between aesthetic sensitivity and creativity, mainly with divergent thinking. Several studies on aesthetic sensitivity confirm its connection to the flow state. Flow state is also a popular topic among research on creative processes. The presented project aims at a deeper verification of the relations between aesthetic sensitivity, creativity and the flow state. In our research, we would like to focus on the link between trait creativity and aesthetic sensitivity as well as its connection with flow and divergent thinking in terms of fluency, originality and flexibility. Those relations will be analyzed and further investigated with respect to individual levels of creative skills. During one experimental session, participants will be asked to fill in questionnaires in order to assess trait creativity (K-DOCS), flow (AEQ) and a revised version of Visual Aesthetic Sensitivity Test (VAST-R) to assess aesthetic sensitivity. Later subjects will be asked to perform two creative tasks: The Test for Creative Thinking – Drawing Production and Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task. Heart rate variability (HRV) measurements will be conducted during those tasks in order to assess the occurrence of flow state. We believe in the importance of the proposed project due to its improved methodology, the consideration of individual differences and objective measures of physiological functioning (HRV). The project is funded by the Grants4NCUStudents, co-authored by Daria Makurat and it is supervised by Joanna Dreszer PhD. We will be able to provide the results of a pilot study at the official event.

Megumi Nishikawa: Effects of wearing special glasses that attenuate light with approximately 585 nm wavelengths on impressions of paintings

Museum lighting is rather dark compared to everyday lighting, and this is not optimal for accentuating the beauty in artworks (Loe et al.,1982; Nakajima & Fuchida, 2015; Nishikawa & Kitaoka, 2021). However, it is practically difficult to increase brightness because artworks are damaged by intense light. Therefore, we investigated the effects of wearing special glasses (NeoContrast, Mitsui Chemicals) that attenuate light with wavelengths of approximately 585 nm as a method to appreciate the beauty of paintings, instead of changing the illumination. Our previous study found that these glasses made a variety of chromatic colors more vivid and beautiful, whereas the vividness of colorimetric values is almost unchanged (Nishikawa & Kitaoka, 2022). In Experiment 1, twenty participants (twelve females, eight males; M age = 21.6 years) evaluated impressions of various paintings with these special glasses and transparent glasses in a laboratory that replicated an exhibition room. In Experiment 2, the experiment was conducted in an art museum in Japan, with two participants (two females aged 27 years). Furthermore, we conducted interviews with the participants from Experiment 2 on how they felt when using special glasses. The results showed that in Experiment 1, paintings tended to be evaluated as more vivid with special glasses, but the ratings of beauty did not change significantly. In contrast, in Experiment 2, all paintings were evaluated as more beautiful and vivid by using special glasses. Thus, in the laboratory, there was little or no effect of wearing special glasses on the beauty of paintings, but, in a real museum, the paintings looked more beautiful. The results are still under investigation, including differences in environment and methods.

Stefan Ortlieb: The Bamberg Repository of Contemporary Kitsch (BaRoCK): Standardized visual stimuli for research on everyday aesthetics

Researchers in the field of empirical aesthetics who focus on art perception usually have at their disposal a wealth of digital art reproductions with extensive normative data. Up to now, nothing comparable exists for the equally important study of everyday aesthetic phenomena such as kitsch. To close this gap, we created the Bamberg Repository for Contemporary Kitsch (BaRoCK), a freely accessible database of 208 high-quality images of everyday objects and normative data. Two basic principles of popular taste have shaped the process of stimulus selection and validation: (A) primacy of content over form and (B) processing ease. Initially, a variety of mundane objects with practical (e.g., piggy bank) and/or symbolic functions (e.g., miniature Eiffel tower) were procured from gift shops, flea markets, office cubicles, and private homes. For the sake of immediate identifiability and consistency of representation, these objects were photographed from a canonical perspective under standardized lighting conditions. In a first validation study, participants (N=100; 50 male, 50 female) rated the resulting images on six 7-point Likert scales relevant to the aesthetic concept of kitsch (i.e., liking, familiarity, arousal, determinacy, perceived threat, and kitschiness). Cluster analysis revealed that the BaRoCK images represent six different types of kitsch (k=200) and eight non-kitschy control stimuli. Three images from each cluster served as stimuli for the second validation study (k=21). This time, participants (N=61; 21 male; 39 female, 1 other) were instructed to jot down spontaneous associations with each image prior to rating it on the six variables from Study 1. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify standard associations both at the level of individual images and the cluster level. Since BaRoCK stimuli have already been successfully applied to cross-cultural research, further comparative data from Slovenia, Serbia, and Japan is available in addition to the results from the two validation studies.

Anna Chinni: Using instruction to alter fixation patterns in abstract art

Previous research has indicated that when art experts look at art pieces, their viewing patterns differ from novices in systematic ways. Specifically, when performing aesthetic evaluation tasks, experts take a more bottom-up viewing approach, while novices take a more top-down approach, even while there are no differences in these groups’ visual attention patterns during free viewing (Koide et al., 2016; Vogt et al., 2007). Additionally, previous studies have indicated the importance of controlled cognitive processing in art viewing (Iosifyan, 2020; Kopatich et at., 2021). Our current study aims to investigate the ways that art theory instruction may inform or alter the viewing patterns of art experts and novices, and to explore individual differences in visual art viewing based on aesthetic preference, non-academic art exposure, and application of theory of mind during visual art viewing. Our study consists of three main experimental groups consisting of art novices and art experts. Novices will be split further into two groups, one of which receives art theory instructions, while the other receives the control lesson consisting of a history lecture. Participants view a set of 12 abstract paintings in three different tasks: free viewing, memory focused viewing, and evaluative viewing while gaze and eye movements are measured by an eye-tracker. Our analysis will compare the participant fixations between groups and tasks to investigate whether novice viewing patterns are altered through instruction, and whether that alteration results in viewing patterns more reflective of those of the expert group.

Alexander Pastukhov: Quantifying accuracy of Low Countries map rendering in Vermeer’s ‘Art of Painting’

The Art of Painting, sometimes referred to as The Allegory of Painting, is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, completed in 1666–1668. It is the largest and most complex work by the artist and is one of the most renowned works of art in the world. The painting is set in a room in Vermeer’s hometown of Delft, Netherlands, and depicts a painter in a stereotypical process of painting on a large canvas. The figure in the painting is likely a self-portrait of Vermeer in a typical Rückenfigur fashion, and the various items shown in the painting are probably representing references to the belief system and Zeitgeist of Vermeer. The painting has been praised for its masterful use of light and shadow, and its precise use of perspective, but most of the items shown have not survived, so we cannot unambiguously recalculate the accuracy of details in content and perspective. However, the large landscape map in the background of the painting is still available: It shows a map of the Low Countries, published by Visscher in 1636. We obtained a high-resolution scan of one of the rare copies of this map that differs only in minor decorative details but shows the original geographical information. When combining projective perspective with Bayesian analysis using a Gaussian process to account for local foldings that were clearly depicted in the painting, we could demonstrate an extreme high concurrence between the map from the archive and the one depicted in Vermeer’s painting.This once again illustrates the accurate work Vermeer executed, probably because he was in the favorite position to have recourse to brand new optical instruments developed in the same era in the same town, just some streets away by contemporary Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope.

Corinna Kühnapfel: The role of interoception in art experience

Interoception has been shown to play a role in the processing of emotional stimuli. However, the role of individual differences in interoception has yet to be studied with art, a domain where emotions are vital to its experience. To fill this gap, in two studies, we investigated the role of individual differences in interoceptive accuracy (measured via heartbeat detection task) in participants’ (N = 39) cognitive-affective ratings (Liking and Being Moved) to 30 representational and 30 abstract artworks (Study 1). Interoceptive accuracy did not predict the ratings. However, we did find that the relationship between the ratings and interoceptive accuracy was stronger for representational than abstract paintings.
In addition, we assessed participants’ bodily responses while viewing the paintings and found that sympathetic arousal (SA), but not heart rate change predicted Liking and Being Moved. The relationship between Liking and SA was stronger for individuals with lower interoceptive accuracy.
In Study 2, we assessed the role of a different dimension of interoception, namely interoceptive sensitivity (measured via MAIA-2), in participants’ (N = 222) cognitive-affective responses to the same 60 artworks. As in Study 1, interoceptive sensitivity did not predict the ratings. However, exploratory analyses of the interoceptive sensitivity subscales revealed that the tendency to listen to one’s body to learn about one’s emotional state (Body Listening), and to be aware of the connection between body sensations and emotional states (Emotional Awareness), predicted emotional (Being Moved), but not cognitive (Liking) responses, with a trend indicating that the relationship between the two subscales and Being Moved was stronger for representational than abstract paintings.
Our results suggest a need for future studies to assess finer-graded dimensions of individual differences in interoception and differentiate between abstract and representational artworks to show whether and how emotional access mediated by the body might contribute to art experience.

June Huang: The automaticity of ‘seeing-in’: Pictorial depth cues influence judgments of surrounding spatial relationships even when task-irrelevant

Many representational paintings give a strong impression of depth, despite being flat surfaces which lack any depth—a phenomenon often referred to as ‘seeing-in’. It has been claimed that, by attending appropriately to pictorial artworks, we can sometimes perceive them as flat. In contrast, here we report two experiments which show that observers cannot fully “turn off” their perception of depth in a picture. Rather, when viewing a pictorial artwork, impressions of depth arise automatically, and irresistibly interfere with judgments of surrounding spatial relationships, even when the painting is entirely task-irrelevant. In Experiment 1, observers viewed a virtual gallery with two freestanding walls, and reported as quickly as possible which wall was closer to them. Each wall displayed a painting—an abstract artwork featuring a luminance gradient, which, depending on its orientation, looked either convex or concave. On Congruent trials, the near wall displayed a convex-looking painting, and the far wall displayed a concave-looking painting. On Incongruent trials, this was flipped. Although observers were told to ignore the paintings, and to focus only on the wall placements, they were unable to ignore the paintings’ pictorial depth cues, and responded slower in the Incongruent condition. Thus, seeing-into a picture occurs automatically, and interferes with an orthogonal task even when we are trying to ignore the painting. Does this also occur for more complex paintings? In Experiment 2, one of the walls displayed a Renaissance or traditional East-Asian painting, and the other a phase-scrambled version of the painting (abolishing depth cues). Observers responded faster when the original painting (with pictorial depth) hung on the far wall, compared to when it hung on the near wall. We conclude that seeing-in is automatic: even when trying our best to resist seeing depth in a picture, it is not possible to perceive a pictorial artwork as flat.

Karina Kueffner: Small gesture, large trigger

Creating works under very limited resources is a constant topic of contemporary art, and also of many forms of artistic expression throughout the 20th century. At the same time, shortages in energy, scarceness of raw materials, and concerns about pollution demand a critical reflection of one’s environmental footprint―artists are no exception. However, restraints in the use of material, be they self-imposed or externally driven, will influence the artist’s creative process as well as the resulting work. The guiding principle of the first author’s artistic work is one of minimal intervention. Manipulations in the outdoor space to convey a message are done with as few changes to the environment as possible. The employed material is often retrieved from found pieces, and resources used are primarily ones that are deemed absolutely necessary. This leads to the question: How much reduction of material is still viable when evoking an artistic expression? Will the work of art still be tangible? Driven by this idea of rich minimalism, several artworks were created by simple acts, e.g. “Linden 2022” was created by raking leaves, imposing a geometric form on the foliage, or “Bounce 2022” was crafted by clamping a textile tape between two soccer goals. Reactions from a number of passersby to those minimalist interventions ranged from genuine interest to blatant and emotional rejection. The responses can be considered as part of the installation and help to explore why and under which conditions subtle acts and minimal gestures yield large psychological triggers in the public space.

Pei Du: Anti-utopian realism and integrity of modern individuality: An inter-media approach of cyberpunk culture research

The modern visual arts and visual-based industries have fertilized and in turn, been nourished by diverse sub-cultures. Cyberpunk culture is one of the significant ones. The original concept of Cyberpunk is understood as the result of a critical reflection by literary scholars and artists on the progress of human technological civilization, inspired by modernist artistic trends. Since the birth of cyberpunk in literature and art in the middle of the last century, academic interest in the genre has been growing, with numerous journal researchers currently focusing on different kinds of research on it, of which a large number of texts focus on the visual expression of the cyberpunk art style based on specific works of visual art or design, followed by the application and development of the cyberpunk art style in urban architecture and its significance for the transformation of urban. The last, to a lesser extent, is a direct exploration of the spiritual core of cyberpunk modernism and social reflection. These research directions formed the main part of current cyberpunk research. If scholars trace it back to the origin of Cyberculture, it is not just a style of science fiction in the literary realm. It is of great importance for research to cast light upon the trend that modern artists are more likely to use visual culture to express themselves, and so the study of the cyber style is naturally focused on the visual elements of modernism. In response to all these related development, the cyberpunk movement, and modern social realities, this research adopts a decentered textual methodology to explore how non-textual forms of expression can express the spiritual core of Cyberpunk.