Like the work that came out of the golden age of Dutch painting, these paintings may look like the product of oil, brushes, and fingers. But, like the rest of Albiac’s work, these portraits are actually the result of the artist’s computer code.
This series, like many other similar projects, was created using a Generative Adversarial Network that Albiac developed himself. The system consists of two neural networks. One is trained to generate portraits based on training data from a database of real Dutch masterpieces, while the second one evaluates its output and compares it to the actual paintings. Albiac told me via email that he used around 300 paintings to create the training data, selected from the high-res digital collection published by the Rijksmuseum: “Most portraits in my training dataset are 17th century Dutch paintings, some other portraits from 18th and 19th centuries.” With that evaluation data in hand, the first AI refined its skills, producing new paintings that were evaluated again by the second neural network in an interactive process that resulted in the images you see in this article.
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