Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, March 5, 2008
HP Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

When computers look at art:
Computer vision and image analysis in humanistic studies of the visual arts

David G. Stork
Chief Scintist, Riocoh Innovations
Visiting Stanford Computer Science Spring 2008
About the talk:

[ArnolfiniCover] New computer methods have been used to shed light on a number of recent controversies in the study of art. For example, computer fractal analysis has been used in authentication studies of paintings attributed to Jackson Pollock recently discovered by Alex Matter. Computer wavelet analysis has been used for attribution of the contributors in Perugino's Holy Family. An international group of computer and image scientists is studying the brushstrokes in paintings by van Gogh for detecting forgeries. Sophisticated computer analysis of perspective, shading, color and form has shed light on David Hockney's bold claim that as early as 1420, Renaissance artists employed optical devices such as concave mirrors to project images onto their canvases.

This profusely illustrate lecture for non-scientists will include works by Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Lorenzo Lotto, and others. You may never see paintings the same way again.

FAQ for further reference


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Meet DR. STORK the Café Scientifique at SRI

Dr. Stork will be speaking at a Café Scientifique 6:00-7:30 PM at SRI International on Tuesday, March 11th. Consult their website,, for more information, directions, and pointers to information about the Café Scientifique movement. The Café Scientifique is not affiliated with Stanford. Rob Semper of the Exploratorium spoke in his December 5, 2007 talk about the movement as an example of new approaches to make science accessible to non-specialists. You can view the talk online; choose the "2007-2008 Fall Schedule" link on the left index of the Colloquium website and click on the video camera icon for Rob's talk.

About the speaker:

Dr. David G. Stork is Chief Scientist of Ricoh Innovations and has held appointments, taught, and sat on dissertation committees at Stanford University frequently over the last 17 years in the departments of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Statistics, Psychology and Art and Art History. He will teach CS 379 next spring, "Computer image analysis in the visual arts."

He has published in optics and art for over two decades, including Seeing the Light: Optics in nature, photography, color, vision and holography (Wiley), the leading textbook on optics in the arts.

A graduate in physics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland at College Park, he also studied art history at Wellesley College and was Artist-in-Residence through the New York State Council of the Arts. His anamorphic photographs and graphics (based on late Renaissance methods) have appeared in small art journals as well as Optics and Photonics News and Scientific American magazine. He has taught courses such as "Light, color and visual phenomena," "The physics of aesthetics and perception," and "Optics, perspective and Renaissance painting" over the last quarter century variously at leading liberal arts and research universities such as Wellesley College, Swarthmore College, Clark University and Stanford University. He is a member of the International Foundation for Art Research and co-editor of Computer image analysis in the study of art (SPIE 2008, forthcoming), the first symposium volume on the topic. He holds 35 US patents and has published numerous technical papers on human and machine learning and perception of patterns, physiological optics, image understanding, concurrency theory, theoretical mechanics, optics, image processing, as well as five books, including Pattern Classification (2nd ed.), the world's all-time best-selling textbook in the field, used in courses in over 250 universites worldwide. He has served on the editorial boards of five international journals and has delivered over 45 plenary, invited or distinguished lectures at universities and conferences (atop nearly 200 traditional invited colloquia and seminars).

He created the PBS television documentary 2001: HAL's Legacy, based on his book HAL's Legacy: 2001's computer as dream and reality (MIT). He was one of four scientists invited to comment on Mr. Hockney's theory at the December 2001 "Art and Optics" Symposium at the New York Institute for the Humanities and one of two scientists invited to present a lecture in the symposium exploring the possible use of optics by Renaissance painters at the Optical Society of America's Annual Meeting in Rochester, NY, October 2004.

Contact information:

David G Stork
Stanford University