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The Science Behind Tik Tok’s Popular “Art History Faces” Learn More About This Technology

faces art history chart

You’ve probably witnessed TikTokers bragging about how they “look just like” their favorite stars. You’ve witnessed their metamorphosis into Marvel heroes and villains. You’ve also probably seen that they employ a filter to ascertain whether or not they’re “hot”; this is, to put it bluntly, a questionable practice.

Now, however, TikTokers can use a comparison chart of averaged faces from 18 different art historical periods to choose which artistic movement best represents their own facial features. In what ways can I decide between these options?

Art styles such as Academicism, Mannerism, Primitivism, Art Nouveau, Neoclassicism, the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Northern Renaissance, Romanticism, Impressionism, Pop Art, Symbolism, Magic Realism, Post-Impressionism, and Ukiyo-e are all included.

Tik Tok’s Art History Chart Takes the Median of Over 18,000 Portraits to Create a Graphic with 36 Average Faces.

In a Medium post from 2020, data analyst Aleksey Tikhonov explains how he built the chart using averaged pictures. According to what Aleksey had written, he had to first eliminate roughly 18,500 portraits from the Painter by Numbers dataset.

“But my attempts to construct average faces by creative style without additional data cleansing generated odd sexless faces,” he continued. Therefore, I had to divide these portraits into groups of people, sexes, ages, and so on. Some of the Cubist paintings, for example, feature subjects whose gender I couldn’t identify, so I categorized them as “other.”

In order to employ the Facer library’s face detection, alignment, and averaging technology, Aleksey narrowed his attention to paintings in the 24 styles that had enough portraits to serve as references.

In addition to the averaged-faces collage, Aleksey also made a time-lapse video with portraits taken every ten years between 1500 and 2000. And on his Society6 page, he is offering copies of the average portraits created in each style.

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You Don’t Need a Degree in Art History to Recognise These Variations.

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize these terms or aren’t sure what the difference is between, say, Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism. Many of the art eras represented on the graph are discussed in detail in an Artland article. According to Artland, the Baroque period was characterized by its “emphasis on dramatic, exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail” (emphasis added).

According to the site, impressionists “attempted to properly and objectively document visual ‘impressions’ by employing small, thin, visible brushstrokes that combine to form a unified image and stress movement and the changing properties of light.

” And Post-Impressionists “each evolved an own style while sharing a commitment to exploring the expressive potential of large canvases, vivid color palettes, and complex symbolism to convey the artist’s emotional and psychological responses to the world.”

You would have to examine photos of particular pieces from each movement or, better yet, visit an art museum to observe how, say, brushstrokes varied between styles, as the face-averaging method produces gauzy, vignette-like images that blur out the details.

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The Chart Has Also Been Analysed by Redditors.

The faces in Aleksey’s graphic have made a major impression on Reddit, with users pointing out tendencies that go beyond art movement even if some of the finer points are averaged out.

As in, “Does it appear that more female photographs are somewhat skewed to our left, like angled profile, compared to male portraits, which are almost all straight on?” only one user-provided feedback.

Someone remarked, “They all look like the Mona Lisa.” Perhaps because it represents the middle ground, her face is universally appealing. Da Vinci was a visionary.

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