>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.