What Does “The Next Rembrandt” Mean for Art?

Last summer, while roaming the galleries of the Detroit Institute of Arts, I was lucky enough to find Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes, which was there on loan from the Leiden Collection in New York for the year.

Credit: Detroit Institute of Arts

I stopped to admire the incredible artistry in the almost 400-year-old piece. There was so much beauty in the interplay between light and shadow, the distinctive texture of the brushstrokes, the fine lines of the figure’s hair and fur coat, the emotion in his eyes. There was so much humanity ingrained in every aspect of the piece. 

Last week, I stumbled across a short article by  Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker that mentioned a Rembrandt – a “Faux Rembrandt.” It went on to explain that a “team of scientists, engineers, and art historians” had used data from Rembrandt’s work to 3D print a new Rembrandt, not a replica of one of his pieces but a completely new piece with a new subject. The painting was unveiled in Amsterdam last Tuesday, and it has been causing quite a stir in the art world.

The piece is called The Next Rembrandt. Through a highly technical process, the creators used computer software to scan and analyze Rembrandt’s existing work to determine who the subject of the portrait should be and how he should be dressed and positioned, then they were able to replicate Rembrandt’s brushstrokes and the thickness of paint he used by printing multiple layers of paint-based ink, which made the piece 3-dimensional like a real painting.

Credit: The Guardian

Everyone agrees that this is an incredible feat for technology, but is it art? And does a painting generated by a computer truly compare to the work of Rembrandt van Rijn? 

In this video presentation about the computer-generated piece, the process is explained, and various people involved in the project discuss the piece and its significance for both technology and art. They compare the creation of the work to bringing Rembrandt back from the grave. “I would have believed if I saw it in a museum that it would have been a real Rembrandt, just one I haven’t seen before,” Ron Augustus of Microsoft says in the video. The video even goes so far as to suggest that Rembrandt would be happy that we are trying to better understand him and his artistic process.

However, not everyone agrees. In the article in The New Yorker, the piece is compared to “fanfiction,” implying that it is a cheap imitation of Rembrandt and has no real artistic value. Schjeldahl complains that the subject of the portrait “utterly lacks the personhood” that is visible in Rembrandt’s other figurative pieces, and though he concedes that the piece doesn’t do any harm, he concludes with the thought that The Next Rembrandt wasn’t worth the incredible amount of time, effort, and money that was poured into it.

I’m not sure that I agree. While the piece certainly isn’t Rembrandt, there is something beautiful about seeing the work of an artist as old and revered as Rembrandt in such a new and innovative format. Nothing quite like this has ever been done before, and it creates so many exciting possibilities to blur the lines between technology and art, to connect creativity and science in a way that is so astoundingly human.

Some artists have already started to use computer programs and codes as paintbrushes, but The Next Rembrandt takes computer-generated art to a new level while still showing reverence for art painted by hand. After all, there would be no “Next Rembrandt” without the original. Rembrandt was a master of his craft whose work is irreplaceable. “The Next Rembrandt” simply gives us a new opportunity to understand Rembrandt’s art on a deeper level.

What do You Think?

What do you think about The Next Rembrandt? Is it just an imitation or something more? What effect, if any, do you think it will have on the art world? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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67 Comments

  1. Hmmm. Big question! I remember Foundations classes in art school where we, as green, wet behind the ears freshman, discussed “What is Art” ad infinitum. We never came up with a definitive answer – no answer at all really. A similar discussion has begun this week with the revealing of technology created diamonds, physically no different than mined diamonds that were created over eons compressed by the weight of the earth. Are they fake? Not really. No answer or opinion here, just more to think about.

  2. Engineering and Art have a history of being intertwined. I suggest a look at DaVinci for the exemplar. No one would ever suggest that his Codex is not art, even though it is essentially a lot of engineering drawings. With every new technology, artists have been challenged by the status quo to stay with traditional methods, and yet we now accept art from folks like Hirst or Koons that are manufactured in factory settings Warhol would swoon to have at hand allowing for global scope in marketing their “art” or products. When a piece sells for $54 million in the name of Art, then society accepts it as Art. Is it? This is Eye of the Beholder stuff to me. I am excited by 3D printing, computer models and IoT sensors that I expect will become accepted aspects of Art over the next several decades. Meanwhile, I go to my studio and apply oil paint to canvas using brushes because I like the process I have. I am an engineer also holding 9 patents with 5 more pending. From my perspective, this “New Rembrandt” is a fascinating experiment in combining Art and Engineering. I doubt it will bring $54 million, but have no doubts that Art will spring from innovations like this that will become accepted and eventually thought of as “traditional” methods.

  3. To my way of thinking, one of the things that makes art art is emotion. Soul, if you will. Of all the capabilities that modern-day computers have, emotion is not one of them. While they can create the look of a painting, it seems unlikely they could ever create the spirit of a painting.

    One of the things I’ve always said makes a painted or drawn portrait better than a photographic one is the vision of the artist. Yes, a photographer has vision, too, but there’s the additional factors of the time and tactile work involved in creating a piece of original art that a photograph–even a fine art photograph–lacks.

    Computer generated art seems to be just one more step toward distancing the act of human creativity from the result of human creativity.

    Is it art or not? Art is in the eye of the beholder, but no computer generated piece will ever replace a painting that Rembrandt actually touched and sweated over.

    In my humble opinion….

    1. Completely agree with Carrie. As a painter who does a number of portraits, I know how much exists BENEATH the surface; and lets not forget that a portrait is a partnership between two humans, both with souls and lives and personalities, something utterly missing in a computer however clever its practioners are.
      As a scientist too, I feel emboldened to venture an opinion on this. For me, paintings are literally sweated over, a mucky exhausting business as far away from a computer keyboard as I can imagine.! Howard Jacobsen once said that he’d never seen a photograph that compared to even a poor painting.

    2. Let’s not confuse the use of a computer in creating art with whether or not the artist portrays “spirit” in their work. And similarly, don’t assume that artwork (whether a portrait or something else) done using a computer takes any less time than a more traditional medium. My own work, created using a computer, often takes hundreds of hours of work to complete. Use of a computer is simply another tool an artist may choose. What’s being discussed here is art that has been designed by a computer, which is a different topic altogether!

  4. I dont see this as art, as it was not created by a person but a machine. But, I do see this as another option for high end reproductions. It would be a step up from a Giclee, as it would add the texture of a real painting.

    1. A Giclee is not a thing…it is a printing process. It has been grossly misinterpreted by the Art industry as only images that are printed on canvas. True Giclee printing can be printed upon many substrates but the real key to a true “Giclee” print is using archival inks, papers and acid free mattes. This is not the same as someone who simply prints an image on canvas paper using dye-based inks. The archieval quality is not there and the print will most likely fade in a short period of time.

    2. I have to agree with Sandra, IMHO for a piece to be art it requires the vision, emotions and soul of the artist….the hand of the artist…these other technologies are wonderful but perhaps should be classified as a new, different genre under its own name….to be honest I cringe when I see a computer generated piece being called a painting….it’s not, it can be fabulous, but call it something else, not a painting….but I guess art is in the eye of the beholder….and to each his own.

    3. BEWARE! I signed contractual reproduction rights for 4 of my paintings in the early 2000’s. I was unaware of the quality of this new 3-d type printing process. These 3 images were from my best all-time international selling series. These reproductions looked like and felt to the touch as though I had put in the sweat and artistic judgments of the real painting. It totally destroyed my gallery sales for that series.
      Reproductions in any form need to be handled carefully, with the artists total control!

  5. If we are to get to the heart of this matter, then I feel it’s imperative that we think through this at the molecular level. The study of quantum physics reveals that molecules and the frequencies of them have an intelligence. It’s the same intelligence that causes cells and chemicals to speak to each other and perform (or not perform) tasks without a physical brain. As such, everything has a frequency or vibration to it. The quality of the frequency matters. And frequency is powerful. Frequency creates color, textures, weights, elements, health & disease, and emotion. It’s the basis of the Universe. Some people see beauty in synthetics, petroleum products, and industry even though they cause illness. These things are created from human imagination, so I believe it qualifies as art. The question is the quality of the art. So, is the “The Next Rembrandt” art? I suppose it is. Only, I would classify it as very low-grade (bastardized) art, as it lacks direct human vibration in its creation. The positive that The Next Rembrandt accomplishes is that it beautifies and exalts Rembrandt’s and other artists’ loving human hand. Sorry for the scientists, engineers, and art historians who haven’t put paint to canvas to understand the abundant difference.

    1. Claire Einsicht
      The quantum theorie goes really to the “heart of the matter’.I discovered the pleasure of painting with a paint made by myself from natural or manufaktured pigments plus eggs and terebentine I found myself in the process of vibrating during the process , perhaps better described in the “flow”.The best would be perhaps to use only handwoven canvas…

  6. I’m surprised that anyone would liken this image to a Rembrandt. Yes, the costume and facial hair are similar to those depicted in Rembrandt’s portraits, lighting angle appears similar also, but color of light and shadow, and general use of color, as well as depth of character in the new “portrait” fall far short.
    This is an interesting example of technology being used to explore artistic characteristics of a specific painter’s work, but it is not creating “art” in the sense that Rembrandt did, through expressing a subject’s characteristics through the artist’s personal perception and individualized interpretation. To my mind, technology has created an interesting and provocative product but not “art.”

    1. I totally agree with Charlotte. But… to add my opinion of it: The new Rembrandt is flat, soul-less with dead looking eyes and lacks a true character and depth in the face. No machined portrait will convince me it is even close to the person’s soul that is expressed in a real sweat and tears portrait created by the human hand, heart and mind. A portrait artist captures the human soul; the machine might as well reproduce a painting of a pot.

  7. What I have seen a lot is that if it is something actually created by a person, people don’t want to just get rid of it. But if it is a copy or computer generated, they don’t have a problem throwing it away. So I will continue to create one of a kind pieces of art.

  8. This is an astounding and fascinating process and an incredible feat of imagination realized. Still, when all is said and done, it is just a simulation of what Rembrandt might have done based on everything he had done before, and just like everything he had done before. It seems to me that no one could ever know (or program compute) what Rembrandt might have done in the future. It’s sort of like scanning and analyzing the work of a five year old Picasso and inputting the information into the program. The resulting output would be an imitation of the the work of a five year old Picasso. I doubt the program could ever conceive of what he would do at age 50. Creative people have a knack for being, well, …surprisingly Creative!

    1. WB Eckert – elegantly expressed the quandary of this particular project. It may be a thing if wonder and it has certainly been created by people – whether they applied the paint or programmed it doesn’t change the fact they were involved – and yet it is ‘after’ someone else’s creative spark and (aside from the novelty of the media and a massive 400 year gap) could be compared in many ways to a highly talented apprentice focussing all of his/her talents on creating ever better copies. The real art in this technology will come, as ever, from the contemporary artists who use it to express themselves uniquely, to challenge what has come before and to create new works for the future. In that instance the media will just become another media and the artistic integretity of the work will be able to stand for independent assessment. And when that happens, it will most definitely be art – though some may take longer to accept it than others 😉

      1. Well put. I agree with your comments. Some digital artists produce new amazing original art that uses the computer as their medium. Copying and interpretation need close evaluation as in this particular case of the ‘Next Rembrant’.

  9. Whether it is as valued as an antique oil on canvas with provenance, history and originality, this is enjoyable as art. I truly admire the image with its short, weak shoulders and recognisable personality type. I do not admire the art critic involved, who has compared Cindy Sherman’s self-based persona photographs to Rembrandt simply because they involve self-portraiture. Curators have become much more influential as tastemakers simply because art critics have gotten to be so bad at what they are supposed to be doing.

  10. Initially i looked at the lead image with your article thinking it was the one you viewed in Detroit. As a painter myself, i thought 2 things, “Where is the ‘shadow’ on his eyes?” and “Those are not the eyes of a painter”.

    There is a porosity i see in the eyes of most painters, often people i meet in other contexts, in my other life delivering our farm products to health food stores. I.e., in situations where i have no objective way to know that someone is other than a store employee . But invariably, if i see that porosity in someone — in their eyes and the energy around them — and i ask if they are an artist, the answer is always yes.

    Then scrolling down your article, and seeing the actual Rembrandt after, to my eyes that quality is entirely present in his actual self-portrait. Going back and comparing the two, i would say (maybe in a more “rational” way), the “Next” has eyes that are not seeing deeply. I know this is a subjective interpretation but a real and common part of my 57 years of life experience. So, the computer gen. image does not have a soul, so to speak.

  11. “Computer generated art seems to be just one more step toward distancing the act of human creativity from the result of human creativity.”
    The article on the “Next Rembrandt” was interesting on many different levels. The responses likewise because I have been hearing much of the same discussion for many years. I am a digital artist specializing in digital painting. To make a comment that because I use a computer to “hand paint” my creations on a computer I have no emotion or personal connection to my paintings is a gross misrepresentation of my creativity and dedication to art. I have a BFA degree and went through much of the same training that many of you did. I approach each painting with careful analysis and use reference materials just as you do. Don’t place other people’s work in a box just because they do not sit there with a brush and tubes of paint because creativity comes in many forms. And by the way, I really do not believe many of my patrons throw my work away simply because it was created on a computer.

  12. One of the things that catches me, holds me in front of a painting or a sculpture, is the consideration of the artist’s hand and her brush or palette knife or spray can – It’s the artist’s hand I want to see in works of whatever medium. I don’t ask for perfection, for a perfect copy, for a smooth manufactured bowl rather than a rough fired piece of clay or porcelain. I want the artist visible as much as the art.

  13. People at canvas in museums mimic the masters to learn. So now a computer does the same thing. It is just a lovely copy, a great lovely copy of style. Scientific analysis would immediately say fake, so no real danger to the real thing. Just a cool study.

  14. I certainly can’t add much to what was said except that I think it’s technology expressed as another art form. A lot of thought and ingenuity went into this and it’s certainly “creative” as A.B. Eckert said. The camera obscura was used by canaletto and guardi and possibly vermeer. Does that in any way lessen what they produced?
    To me the whole thing about art is “vision” –not slavishly copying nature but knowing what to add and leave out to produce something of beauty and truth.
    A piece of art should elevate, which I think this piece succeeds in doing.
    It’s really not as amazing as an original Rembrandt perhaps, but the concept itself is very intriguing and it spurs us on along different paths.
    Actually, it makes me be even more in awe of Rembrandt!

  15. What is missing in the new Rembrandt technology? The artist’s/creator’s personal experience, lift, satisfaction of creating.

    “The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”
    -Robert Henri

  16. Is it a Rembrandt? No. Is it an imitation? Yes. Is it art? Well, if this exact same image was understood to have been created by a person with physical brushes, paint and canvas, many wouldn’t argue against the image as being a piece of art. But since it is understood to have been created through a very different process using advanced computing, many reject it as art.
    It would seem then that the process rather than the final image is actually being evaluated or used as the determining criteria. Is the process the art — regardless of the image, or is the image the art — regardless of the process?
    Humans have always used tools to create art, be they our hand, brush, pigment, camera, stylus, pixels, computer, software, etc… All these are still directed by a human mind–even the mind that created the incredibly creative software code, powerful computer, and process that made this image possible.
    What is the creation—the art?

  17. I don’t think this looks like a true Rembrandt. I have been doing portraits for a fellow in Brooklyn recently and in most of them I try to paint in the style of Rembrandt. (I haven’t come close.) But in the process, during study, I’ve noticed several things about a Rembrandt portrait. The background is usually illuminated in such a way that the area right behind the part of the face in shadow is the brightest, and the area behind the lit part of the face is darker. This provides greater contrast between foreground and background. In the portrait they did, they messed that up–it’s the reverse. In addition, they didn’t capture the impasto brushwork of Rembrandt. The skin tones in the portrait are too smooth, and not as vibrant as a true Rembrandt. Finally, the overall color scheme is not warm enough. Great portrait, but not a Rembrandt. There are living human painters today that I’m sure can emulate his style better than this computer rendition.

    1. I totally agree with you. The background is not Rembrandt’s , the impasto’s brushwork is not Rembrandt’s, neither are the skin tones and the overall color scheme. I lifeless portrait, not nearing Rembrandt.

  18. To most people this will seems like an original. And as all kind of copies it is a danger to the original. Not to the true artlovers, but to most people. I think this is the question. Is it positive that most people could afford a better copy of A masterpiece instead of buying an affordable original? I am a libra, so I can see the positive and the negative in both. To me personally this is like sending your Art to China, and get painted copies back…….I feel sorry that the possibility to earn money without the artist always seems like A “good idea”.

  19. Wow. This does bring up interesting thoughts. In essence, the computer analysis is not really anything more than what our brains do. How many times have we been in a museum, seen a picture and said, “That looks like a Rembrandt – or Picasso – or. . . . ” Or we hear a piece of music and comment that it sounds like Mozart or Beethoven. That a 3d printer can be programmed to recognize and reproduce these qualities is quite amazing, but has a bit of Pandora’s box attached. Not everything that comes labelled as “progress” is good. (I am a purist in this respect; I don’t even like to make prints of my artwork.)
    As for the connection between architecture and painting, I’ll refer to that treatise of Douglas Hofstadter “Gödel, Escher, Bach.” Similarities in the creative processes are not contested. The beauty of a Greek column can also be reduced to a mathematical formula but I, for one, would rather look at the column! Part of the “uniqueness” of an artwork is the mystery surrounding it; I am very happy to be simply absorbed by a painting, symphony or poem, enjoy and appreciate its singularity and genius without reducing creativity to algorithms.

  20. I’m all for using technology in art but using it to push art forward rather than looking back or going over old ground. I use the latest technology to create ideas for my own neo-photorealism style, always looking at ways to be inventive. New and innovative methods should be used to make new and innovative work.

  21. From the brain, through the arm, down through the hand and into the movement of the brush will always quantify for me a creative original done by a human being, for me that will always be the true art.

  22. I’ve done some fun study in past years on forgers. It always amazed me seeing how good these guys were why didn’t they take off with their own style and ability? No, they would rather copy a master and pass it off as the real thing. Maybe that was their challenge. Can I paint so convincingly … like Rembrandt, I can fool the experts?
    This Rembrandt strikes me the same as seeing a good forged piece. My first impression was Rembrandt would never have placed his figure dead center on the canvas like this; too much blank canvas above the hat, not enough on the sides and not enough of the torso. His figures were always perfectly proportional to the canvas. Matt Philleo, you called it right. Rembrandt would have manipulated the background to highlight his subject.
    Why create a simulation of an aged piece by an early master? Just to prove we can do it? To show what wonderful things our computers can do? This is a great advertising piece but nothing more than a sterile representation. It is not art.
    The greatest thing to remember with new technology is, it finds its relevance. 3-D printing is making everything from car parts to body parts. That is exciting … and useful! If technology can’t be useful why bother? We don’t have enough artists around? The “New Rembrandt” won’t be a Dutch Golden Age painter … he/she will develop a new medium or technique, and become the “New _____”.
    There are some immensely talented designers in computer graphics. It is a whole new field and it will find its place in art, or wherever.

  23. I agree with Carrie. Computer generated art will never replace the real painting and the reason/emotion for its creation in the first place.

  24. Wow, the same old hand made versus machine made argument again. And the machine made again loses out. Defenders of the hand made argue that machine made cannot have “emotion” or soul. But really it is not the material (paint on canvas or pixel dots on paper) that gives it that quality, it is the person who is using the materials that does that. And if the digitally made object has no emotion it is that the person creating it does not really know how to express this through their materials. But then all the time I come across those painters who don’t know how to express themselves with paint and brushes and canvas.
    The thing is that we are going through a technology revolution and we have to learn how to express emotion and soul through technology. And there are a growing number of artists who can do this with almost the same magnificence as Rembrandt was able to do with paint and canvas.
    Apples and oranges. It is not fair to devalue an orange for not being an apple. And devaluing something that is machine made as not hand made is silly. One thing I discovered years ago was that my computer just sits there doing nothing unless my hands touch the keyboard and mouse and I direct it to do something. The process starts with me, having emotions, touching the keyboard/mouse, watching the monitor, translating my emotions to pixels, then printing it out.
    Again it is all apples and oranges. Those that prefer to put paint on canvas are apples, those that prefer pixels on paper are oranges. They both have their own value. To each their own.
    And welcome to the 21st century.

  25. Man vs. Machine, again! Never-mind “is it art?”. If people find a technology-generated painting or sculpture beautiful, they will willingly call it art, buy it, put it on display, pass it on to their offspring. What is diminished–and possibly threatened–is the market for art that has been wrought lovingly, joyously or painfully, from an artist’s life experience and sense of wonder or outrage. For the artist, physically executing a piece of art is a contemplative process in body, mind, and spirit. It’s how an artist interacts with his or her surrounding world and baffling society! The public will adapt, the market will gradually shift, but will the “artist” be increasingly marginalized?

  26. I concur with Carrie & Charlotte. While this image lacks soul (if I saw it in person, I’d assume it was someone’s failed attempt to mimic Rembrandt), it brings up a lot of good conversation and points. I believe this won’t be the last we see of these types of works, and it makes me feel happy that as artists, we have the ability to evoke emotion and sentiment that a soulless computer cannot.

  27. Any replication created by whatever method, be it computer or brilliant forger, is still an imitation. You have the original and then the imitation. It will be wonderful to have these computer generated pieces for purchase at a lower price for those of us who can’t afford $54 million, however it must always be clear that it is not the original, regardless of how good the replication. Whether it was the 15th century or the 21st century, an imitation is an imitation.

  28. Jason: What do you think it is that we understand on a “deeper level” about Rembrant from this experiment? The depth of his paint? Certainly not his emotions, the turmoil and exhilaration he experienced over a lifetime of striving to create his personal vision of the soul of his subject.
    A team of technicians and a machine, not a soul do they make.

  29. Art is a reflection of the times. It makes a statement. Look at Marcel Duchamp’s ready-Mades. The movie Tim’s Vermeer blew my mind on many levels about what art is, as did the book Art and Physics.

    I would love to use that program and see what my next work would be!!

  30. Well, if it is an original piece of the person creating it and has their signature on it, then, yes, it is art. If it is simply used to make copies of art that look like art, then, no. I would say it depends on the intent and the originality of the piece. That said, it would also be a good way for someone to study the techniques of the old masters.

  31. If man doesn’t blow himself up first there will always be the possibility of man creating man. The rules will have to be followed as God or the universe has described and uses. If it can be found that those rules allow for and support the creation of new things as produced or by those who are dead. We will have created immortality or be pretty close to it.

  32. Although it’s true that “there’s nothing new in art,” that everything we do is synthesized from all of the art we have studied, we choose what it is we synthesize and how we do it, and each of us experiences all of that art differently to begin with. The point is that Rembrandt envisioned, practiced, and perfected his style in the first place. The computer is just distilling it. There’s a lot of this already going on in music, where musicians are getting their work “sampled,” and so a new Benny Goodman is created, or more often imbued into something else. That’s theft, and composers have enough trouble being creative when there are only eight notes! And players practice their whole life to develop their touch, style, feel for the music. Sampling it and working it or combining it into something else is still theft. Each human being digests their own life experiences and art studies together with their chosen techniques to make art, and if some of it’s too derivative, the critics will say so. Anything based too much on mechanical imitation is just imitation.

  33. I have a healthy appreciation for technology and its uses. However, separating the human touch from the creation of art feels like a modern recapitulation of the industrial revolution. I should hope that the comparative rarity of things being made and delivered, one human being to another, will be cherished in future days as it was during the arts and crafts movement.

  34. Ron Augustus, “I think if Rembrandt saw this, he’d be happy.”
    Only someone who is not an artist would say this. How egotistical. What did all of these very smart computer geeks do? They spent a lot of time using cutting edge digital technology to make a forged Rembrandt painting of a generic Dutch man from the 17th century. But they don’t see it that way. As an artist, I think Rembrandt would laugh at them for being so egotistical as to think they were artists and had created a painting. There is no life in that painting, but they can’t see it. It’s like a computer-generated crime sketch.

    Original paintings and drawings have the artist’s soul in it. They have life. You either get it or you don’t. Nothing generated by a computer will ever have life in it. I’m not talking about printed reproductions, but yes- printed reproductions don’t have the life that the original art does, and the whole art world knows that. That’s why the original is always more exciting and more valuable than even the highest quality print.

    Rembrandt’s brilliance was not just the emotions on people’s faces, but how he painted light and how he used light to make the viewer’s eyes travel on his canvas and tell the story of the painting. No computer algorithm can simulate or reproduce that. That is human intellect that comes up with telling the story of visual message. These computer geeks don’t seem to know any art history. Rembrandt, like so many other painters, painted portraits as his bread and butter. That’s how he paid his bills. He churned them out like a master chef cranking the same menu items out with consistent quality night after night to customers who wanted excellent food. Most of these people were the newly wealthy merchant class who wanted to impress other people with their wealth by having their portraits painted just like the nobility did. Rembrandt’s brilliant and soulful works were not his formulaic portraits. They were the paintings of average people doing everyday things.

  35. The simple beauty of buying or admiring an original work of art is that you are paying homage to the soul of the creator of that piece of art…..and while the technology is impressive…..seems difficult to pay homage to a computer.

  36. I wish I could see the new one in person. A lot of artists are commenting that the computerized brush strokes have no “soul”, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s only because we are seeing the painting through the screen or because we were told that it was fake. If we saw it in real life and didn’t know it was created by a computer, would we still feel the same way? Philosophers have tried for years to determine what makes a soul and modern philosophers have often pondered the real differences between humans and computers. I think it’s fascinating, though I think it would be dangerous in the hands of a forger (especially since some of them already do spectacular work by hand!)

  37. The first thing I saw in this painting is that bright white collar.
    This is a painting of a boring collar.
    Rembrandt makes you look at the face, the eyes, the shoulders and the posture of the body.
    As if you are meeting a person for the first time.

  38. What “comes through” the artwork of the oldest paintings on Earth — that is, the prehistoric CAVE PAINTINGS — is the HUMAN spirit …

    Undeniably, the new technology is amazing; but, in my opinion it cannot replace the human spirit.

  39. This is just a print composed from the left side of the brain of technicians.
    A painting is an intimate interaction between artist and paint applied with brushes, palette knives, etc. There is human breath and touch, hours of creative emotion in a fine work of art. Rembrandt sat in front of a human model and was truly inventing something new and extremely personal.
    To copy it in this manner is all about the modern ego.
    Watching this video, I feel distraught in a similar way to when I see vast natural areas being scoped for oil drilling.

  40. Summing up, this is a computer generated portrait trying to imitate Rembrandt. It is just a lifeless portrait after Rembrandt, the one and only.

  41. I think the painting looks like James Spader from “The Blacklist.” Charles Dunn once said “If the painting looks good on a wall, it is good art.” Art is subjective, if you like it, great, if not, it could still look good on a wall.

  42. The man does a disservice to fanfiction. While it’s true many fans produce work that would be unreadable garbage if they wrote it using original characters, others are excellent works (Aeon Natum Engel, an Evangelion/ Cthluthlu-Tech fanfic crossover comes to mind) that can even surpass the scope of their parent works.

    And if you’re going to dismiss it as having “no artistic value” simply because the people involved were wielding keyboards instead of paintbrushes, then you must also dismiss all the fractal art, pixel art, and digital painting that has emerged from the computer. And all the people that willfully restrict their materials/methods to “period appropriate” in order to create “authentic reproductions”–such as the many potters that worked to ressurrect ancient AmericIndian pottery styles.

  43. A big part of what makes original art interesting is it’s uniqueness. This 3d printing technique has the potential to reduce all art to unlimited $50 Walmart reproductions. Does it look good? Maybe. What does it say about the taste of it’s owners? That they are about as original as a Big Mac with fries.

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