I have always been inspired by both the arts and technology, so I wanted to experiment and create a contemporary view of old masters’ paintings. Intrigued by an information visualisation method called ‘treemapping’, I created an algorithm in Houdini that would do the subdivisions. The algorithm takes the original image, calculates the density of information and then subdivides it, based on a few user-controllable parameters.
The result is a mosaic of rectangles that highlight the subtle changes in the colour palette of the original. The more information there is the on the original, the more it is subdivided and thus the smaller the rectangle elements. The less information, the larger the rectangle area. You could say there is a similarity to the painters’ approach of using broader and finer strokes.
Portrait of Rosalba Peale by Rembrandt Peale
ca 1820, oil on canvas, 50.8 x 37.0 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Rembrandt tutored his daughter Rosalba (1799-1874) in art and raised her as an independent and strong-minded woman. Author and critic John Neal wrote that "Her mind is excellent. Her father has always taught her to think for herself, to reason, and to be firm, without wrangling or argument, in the expression of her opinions." (from the Smithsonian American Art Museum)