Apollo Magazine

Introducing Vincent van Robogogh

An AI programme developed by a Cambridge-based tech company lets you paint like Van Gogh, apparently

Impressionistic: Vincent turns your doodles into ‘masterpieces’

Impressionistic: Vincent turns your doodles into ‘masterpieces’. Cambridge Consultants

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Well, it was only a matter of time. Scientists at tech firm Cambridge Consultants have invented a nifty new programme that uses ‘deep learning’ to transform your idle doodles into works of art to match those of the masters – ‘as if Van Gogh, Cézanne and Picasso were inside the machine, producing art to order’.

The programme has been created by feeding thousands of images from the Renaissance to the present day into a computer to study varieties of contrast, colour and texture. Cutely, the developers have named it ‘Vincent’.

The idea is that the user sketches a rough drawing onto a tablet computer, whereupon ‘Vincent’ will take up where the aspirant artist took off, transforming even the most jumbled illustration into ‘a relevant, finished artwork’. Quite how Cambridge Consultants define what is ‘relevant’, Rakewell does not know – but he is sure that this year’s Turner Prize contenders needn’t lose any sleep just yet…

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