I hate to admit it, but Skynet is pretty talented.
British auction house Christie’s is set to put a computer-generated portrait up for bidding – the first ever transaction involving a major auction house.
The print, entitled Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, depicts a fictional character in the style of 17th century works done by the Old Masters. It also includes, as you can see on the lower right-hand side of the frame, the math formula used to create the piece.
According to French art collective ‘Obvious’, they were able to make the print using a General Adversarial Network (GAN), and the two programs – one called the Generator, and the other the Discriminator – in involved in it.
“We fed the system with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th century to the 20th,” they explained.
“The Generator makes a new image based on the set, then the Discriminator tries to spot the difference between a human-made image and one created by the Generator. The aim is to fool the Discriminator into thinking that the new images are real-life portraits. Then we have a result.”
The group sold their first print directly to art collector Nicolas Laugero-Lasserre last February for €10,000 (about US$11,000 or AUS$15,000). Now, their latest work could fetch them between US$7,000 and US$10,000 (AUS$10,000 and AUS$14,000).
“I just find it amazing that some young people built a program allowing the creation of an original artwork, based on a selection of the ‘bests’ from past art history,” said Laugero-Lasserre.