Art Stories March 2022

This month we were fascinated by how technology (AI) and science (bacteria) influence us, our artwork, and our understanding of history. Enjoy!

Bacteria to the art restoration rescue

Photo of the tomb of Lorenzo di Piero
The restored tomb of Lorenzo di Piero, who was a member of the powerful Medici family. Photograph: Antonio Quattrone

How do you clean all the dirt and grime that accumulates over the century? Bacteria! In time for Michelangelo‘s 545th birthday anniversary, scientists restored the Medici family chapel in the San Lorenzo church in Florence. The three strains of bacteria worked through dirt (done in two days!) and organic stains (as a result of the remains) with impressive results.

We love the idea of combining nature, science, and art for good and hope you’ll enjoy this story.

AI model helps decipher, date, and locate ancient texts

Animation showing the current fragments and the predicted texts
Ancient Greek inscriptions are often fragmented. The software Ithaca can suggest what letters are missing. Image: DeepMind

Thanks to machine learning techniques, experts now have help in determining the when, where, and what of ancient inscriptions. Since many of these texts are quite old, they are often damaged and create a challenge for historians. Looking for patterns among ancient Greek inscriptions, this software can help suggest clues that aid historians in their research.

We enjoyed the collaboration between technology and researchers.

US Copyright Office says an AI can’t copyright its art

Image of “A Recent Entrance to Paradise”
Steven Thaler and/or Creativity Machine

Should works that are created by Artificial Intelligence (AI) be protected by copyright? No, according to the US Copyright Office. To be copyright protected, it must include a necessary element of “human authorship”.

We are curious to see how digital art creation will impact artwork, attribution, and commerce. This decision that puts emphasis on human creativity will surely be part of more and more discussions and decisions.

BONUS: Need a little more art in your day?

Example of a chrome browser tab with artwork
Chrome browser with artwork

If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you might enjoy this free Google Arts & Culture extension. With each new day (or tab), you’ll see masterpieces and contemporary artworks in your blank tabs. There’s even an option to discover more about the piece if you’re curious.

We’ve added this extension and have enjoyed the extra bit of artwork in our days. We hope you’ll enjoy it too!

If you have some favorite articles and stories about art, let us know! We’d love to feature them on our blog and newsletter.

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