A giant leap for technology, or a massive step backwards for humanity's appreciation of art? When 'The Next Rembrandt' was released earlier this week, the response was mixed: in the one camp, the technology required to produce such a work is being wildly applauded; in the other, art buffs are shaking their heads, as the world's greatest masterpieces look destined to be reduced to computer code.
The 18-month project was the combined effort of scientists, developers, engineers and art historians. An algorithm analysed 346 Rembrandt paintings, identifying and replicating the geometric patterns, brushstrokes and colours the 17th-century Dutch master used in his work. The final product (do we call it a painting?) is made up of 148-million pixels and 13 layers of UV-ink to create a realistic texture, printed using a specially designed 3D printer.
As anyone who's spent hours getting lost in the Louvre, the Pompidou or the Uffizi can attest, great art is about much, much more than aping the style of someone else. What's that sound? Probably just Rembrandt turning in his grave.