Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2008;37(9):1341-52.
doi: 10.1068/p5971.

Variations in Intensity Statistics for Representational and Abstract Art, and for Art From the Eastern and Western Hemispheres

Affiliations

Variations in Intensity Statistics for Representational and Abstract Art, and for Art From the Eastern and Western Hemispheres

Daniel J Graham et al. Perception. .

Abstract

Two recent studies suggest that natural scenes and paintings show similar statistical properties. But does the content or region of origin of an artwork affect its statistical properties? We addressed this question by having judges place paintings from a large, diverse collection of paintings into one of three subject-matter categories using a forced-choice paradigm. Basic statistics for images whose caterogization was agreed by all judges showed no significant differences between those judged to be 'landscape' and 'portrait/still-life', but these two classes differed from paintings judged to be 'abstract'. All categories showed basic spatial statistical regularities similar to those typical of natural scenes. A test of the full painting collection (140 images) with respect to the works' place of origin (provenance) showed significant differences between Eastern works and Western ones, differences which we find are likely related to the materials and the choice of background color. Although artists deviate slightly from reproducing natural statistics in abstract art (compared to representational art), the great majority of human art likely shares basic statistical limitations. We argue that statistical regularities in art are rooted in the need to make art visible to the eye, not in the inherent aesthetic value of natural-scene statistics, and we suggest that variability in spatial statistics may be generally imposed by manufacture.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 20 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback