Two representations of Jesus made from artificial intelligence software - Bas Uterwijk

  • The Ganbrood Twitter account has generated photorealistic images of characters from history whose faces are unknown.
  • Jesus, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, the statue of liberty… The Art Breeder software generated faces from representations that art has made in history.

We finally know the head of Jesus, Van Gogh or the Statue of Liberty. Post-photographer Ganbrood, Bas Uterwijk of his real name, started this artistic work about a year ago, and the coronavirus health crisis allowed him to free up time to develop this project. While wandering on this artist's Instagram and Twitter accounts, one wonders how he managed to obtain a photograph of Jesus.

Stop taking you by boat, he did not find these images between two stands of a clearance sale. He created them using online artificial intelligence software called Art Breeder which generates photorealistic images from multiple images, much on the same principle as This person doesn't exist does not exist]. It all started with a damaged photo of the famous American Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid. There is only one authentic image of this character.

A single official photo of Van Gogh

"I was very surprised to see that Art Breeder ignored the damage from the original photo," he explains. He recreated the face, ignoring all the imperfections ”. On the original photo, you can barely make out the features of the bandit, his eyes are not visible. Once passed through the reel of AI software, his figure is much clearer.

I used a Generative Adversarial Network to generate and restore the only known photo of #BillytheKid combining several digital techniques: # StyleGAN2 #History #Cowboys #AI #ArtificialIntelligence #MachineLearning #NeuralNetworks

- Ganbrood (Bas Uterwijk) (@ganbrood) April 23, 2020

“It gave me the idea to take pictures of paintings, sculptures, characters who have been represented in art but of whom we have no portrait, to see how the algorithm would be able to generate a face from several different models ”. Thus we discover the features of the Statue of Liberty, the statue of David and a whole bunch of figures from history…

"As I am Dutch, I really wanted to work on the portraits of Rembrandt and Van Gogh", underlines Bas Uterwijk. First difficulty: the only authentic photo of Van Gogh dates from his 19 years. At that time, he did not even have a beard. Another difficulty: from one self-portrait to another, he does not have the same face because, when Van Gogh painted himself, he painted what he felt, his emotional state, and not what he saw. "I said to myself that if I put 10 or 20 different paintings, I could have something interesting", says Bas Uterwijk who spent two weeks full time on the photo of Van Gogh before arriving at a satisfactory result .

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

Generative Adversary Network assisted artistic impression, based on several of his self-portraits including the painting by John Peter Russell and a photograph of him at 19: #artbreeder # stylegan2 #MachineLearning #impressionism #art #history

- Ganbrood (Bas Uterwijk) (@ganbrood) June 22, 2020

Short haired jesus

Quite naturally, Bas Uterwijk looked into the case of Jesus, one of the figures most represented in Judeo-Christian culture. "For one of the images, I added a little historical truth," he explains. In one of the three versions, Jesus has shorter hair because historians do not believe that at that time, in the region of Galilee, in Israel, a man could have had hair so long ”. In Christian iconography, the prophet is depicted with long hair, milky skin, long and lean limbs.

Semitic, Jesus probably had rather a dull complexion and short, very dark hair. "Sometimes I try to be as realistic as possible and sometimes I try to give a representation of how we perceive a character in history," concludes the photographer. If we can never know if these images are close to reality, they express something of our vision of these historical and cultural characters.


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