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Author Topic: What makes an image memorable?  (Read 6491 times)
William Walker
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« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2011, 07:42:43 AM »
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stay away from gurus, all of them.
Rob C

"Drat, and drat again!" if I can quote one of my Gurus on this forum.
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Rob C
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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2011, 04:22:10 AM »
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"Drat, and drat again!" if I can quote one of my Gurus on this forum.




That's okay: 'tis only a deputy guru.

Rob C
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Justan
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« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2011, 12:01:55 PM »
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>Folks at MIT have been doing research into whether or not it is possible to algorithmically determine if a photograph is memorable:
What makes an image memorable?

There are many ways to reach a conclusion about something being memorable. Using algorithms is one, albeit a limited way. Computer logic only goes so far and is seldom conclusive. As a case in point, if “landscapes” are utterly forgettable, why then do they comprise such a vast amount of art work?

The article is really about a first attempt to measure the observer in an arena known as cognitive science. That the researchers select memorability by saturating people by a large volume on-going images and ask the subjects to remember something from the show, suggests that they are at best, looking at basic pattern recognition features and are not out to distinguish types of preferences for art.

Cognitive science is an interesting field. It hints at a lot of useful information but is a long way from most of the applications which would take full advantage of this kind of science, and relies very heavily on hair splitting conclusions.

Were a similar study done using nothing but works from any major museum, the outcome would have been different. Were they to conclude that a master’s work was un-memorable or less memorable, the conclusion would make a mockery of their study. So they (wisely, imo) stayed away from that approach.

The article reads as if they built the conclusion they were after by the images they selected. They disavow implication of greater application in their conclusion: “This work is a first attempt to quantify this useful quality of individual images.”

Thanks for the link but I'm not impressed.

Also having studied art history for a number of years, I'm compelled to point out that landscapes in Western art became of wide interest around the Renaissance (1500s). Even LdV painted landscapes http://www.tamsquare.net/pictures/V/Leonardo-da-Vinci-Arno-Landscape.jpg and there are increasing numbers of examples going foreword. In Eastern art, landscape imagery as a central subject goes back well over a thousand years.
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RSL
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« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2011, 12:47:39 PM »
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Justan, I'm sure you know a lot more about the history of art than I do. Can you give me an example of Western landscape from the 16th century that was pure landscape -- that wasn't a background for human figures, usually religious, and that didn't include the hand of man? The LdV you referenced is a drawing of a community that includes some landscape as its setting.
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Justan
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« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2011, 03:34:52 PM »
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I don’t know if Leo’s works are all available online but he did several ‘scapes. BTW The work referenced above is an drawing of a landscape with the community in the background. It’s the “Arno landscape” from 1473. Andrea del Verrocchio was one of LdV’s mentors and he too did landscapes, admittedly mostly as part of portraiture back to the early 1400s.

LdV “Birds eye view of a landscape” 1502
http://www.artist-todd-mallett.com/cgi-bin/enlarge4.cgi?cat=oil_artistv&ProductID=Leonardo-da-Vinci-Bird-s-Eye-View-of-a-Landscape

Albrecht Durer, 1495, Pond in the woods
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albrecht_D%C3%BCrer_106.jpg

Northern renaissance artists did a lot more ‘scapes than the southern ones did.

There is a lot more. Part of the distinctiveness of the Renaissance is the separation of art from being primarily an instrument of religious propaganda. This went along with the growth of a culture more interested in aesthetics and technologies than the ways of the former theocratic cultures. We are not so different today but then it was revolutionary.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 09:09:01 AM by Justan » Logged

Eric Kellerman
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« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2011, 06:55:17 PM »
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What culture would that be?

Western culture, for a start. Beauty as applied to landscape is essentially an invention of the English in the landscape garden movement of the 18th century, widely copied in the rest of Europe (the French grudgingly acknowledged the source, but called the parks 'jardins anglo-chinois'). The English landscape movement came about partly as a reaction to the rigorous symmetry and unnatural plant management of the French and Dutch. And of course England and France were traditional enemies too. The irony of the movement was that nature was to be 'improved' - it was too wild  and unkempt to be left to its own devices. The great name here is of course Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, whose large-scale changes to parks owned by England's nobility earned him undying fame and considerable wealth.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 11:11:03 AM by Eric Kellerman » Logged
Justan
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« Reply #46 on: June 18, 2011, 09:36:32 AM »
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I messed up on one of the images i referenced above. It was a detail and not complete work, so I removed it. Here are some more landscapes by LdV

Study of a Tuscan Landscape, 1473
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_weTiHwuZsVo/S68fJ2IfZ-I/AAAAAAAACxI/gFyXuyAgba0/s1600/Landscape.jpg

Storm Over a Landscape, 1500
http://www.artchive.com/web_gallery/L/Leonardo-Da-Vinci/Storm-Over-A-Landscape.html

Drawing of mountains, 1511
http://www.universalleonardo.org/worklarge.php?id=353&image=0&trail=0&trailCount=&name=

Hurricane over horsemen and Trees 1518
http://www.universalleonardo.org/worklarge.php?id=354&image=0&trail=0&trailCount=&name=
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RSL
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« Reply #47 on: June 18, 2011, 10:19:05 AM »
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Justan, You're finding sketches with which I'm not familiar at all. They're very interesting, but they're failing to convince me that landscape was a popular subject in the 16th century. The first painting looks a lot like a map da Vinci might have knocked off quickly for a military campaign. I'm glad you dropped the second one because if that painting of a post with a landscape behind it is a landscape you could call the Mona Lisa a landscape -- with a woman cluttering up the foreground. The Last Supper also is a landscape if you look out the back windows. Too bad about those guys in front messing up the scene with their dinner.

The Dürer is the one that fascinates me. I see his chop up there in the sky, but mentally I keep comparing this sketch with his incredibly detailed and intense self portrait of 1500, and I think also about the vast amount of detail in his woodcuts and engravings. This painting makes it look as if he was resurrected in the late 1800s and joined the Nabis. If the British Museum is satisfied that it's genuine I'm certainly in no position to question that finding, but in my ignorance I wonder.

I'm impressed that you were able to locate these examples on the web. You obviously know your subject. But neither I nor Slobodan, nor Eric Kellerman have suggested that no one made sketches of landscape before the 18th century. What I said many posts back was that before the 18th century landscape was considered threatening rather than beautiful. I used a couple words that probably overstated the case, but I'll stand by my statement. Eric just summarized the situation very concisely.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2011, 12:20:28 PM by RSL » Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #48 on: June 18, 2011, 01:19:50 PM »
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... But neither I nor Slobodan, nor Eric Kellerman have suggested that no one made sketches of landscape before the 18th century...

Indeed.

When an asteroid hit the Earth, it was a historic event. Brief, unexpected, unplanned, and unprovoked or caused by anything on Earth... an "out of the blue" event literally. The appearance of landscape as a genre in (Western) art was not an event. It was a historic process, that took several centuries.

During this period of evolution, landscape and human figure traded places: landscape started as a background for prominent religious or historic figures or stories, moved over time through middle ground, equalizing its importance and area it occupied with human figures or "hands of man", e.g.,  in the form of towns and villages, finally arriving to the foreground, though with human presence still visible, although much less prominently. But it was only in the 19th century when it finally got rid of the human presence (or marginalized it) and established itself as a genre.

Again, as in any historic process, it does not mean there were no isolated cases of landscapes without the hand of man before. There are always precursors to anything. There are always men ahead of their time (and if there ever was a perfect example for it, it would be Leonardo). Leonardo was also a scientist, engineer, and, yes, cartographer. It shall be noted, however, that those sketches, by him or other artists, are often used exclusively as studies for later paintings, where they would be employed as a background. 
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Slobodan

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Justan
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« Reply #49 on: June 20, 2011, 09:01:42 AM »
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> Let's face it, until fairly recently we regarded nature as demonic and ugly. It wasn't until Rousseau that that attitude began to change, and our current attitude toward nature is learned, not inborn.

> LuLa since I thought that what I'm saying was common knowledge among people interested in fine art, I need to qualify my original statement. I'm talking about western art. The art of the Orient took on landscape long before European art did.

> But, in the meantime, as an indicator of what I'm saying, look for Western landscapes painted before the Romantic period. They exist, but they're allegorical, and dominated usually by religious or genre themes.

> Can you give me an example of Western landscape from the 16th century that was pure landscape -- that wasn't a background for human figures, usually religious, and that didn't include the hand of man?

> But neither I nor Slobodan, nor Eric Kellerman have suggested that no one made sketches of landscape before the 18th century.
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RSL
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« Reply #50 on: June 20, 2011, 09:58:01 AM »
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Justan, Maybe neither I nor Slobodan nor Eric has been specific enough about the term "landscape." We're talking about painting for public consumption -- stuff that would hang in public places or in wealthy homes. None of your examples fits that description, but, as I said, maybe that's my fault for assuming we all were on the same sheet of music.

Let me fill in the rest of the statement you redacted:

"But neither I nor Slobodan, nor Eric Kellerman have suggested that no one made sketches of landscape before the 18th century. What I said many posts back was that before the 18th century landscape was considered threatening rather than beautiful."

There was no market for pure landscape painting before the 18th century and that's the reason why there wasn't. I use the term "market" advisedly, recognizing that the market mostly was commissions by the church or by wealthy patrons.
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