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Distant Viewing Light Analysis of Figurative Paintings

Pepe Ballesteros will present the Paper “Distant Viewing Light Analysis of Figurative Paintings Using Spherical Harmonics”¬† tomorrow Tuesday January 23, 2024, at the Conference¬† Computer Vision and Image Analysis of Art, in San Francisco. The paper is part of the homonymous session taking place 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM / Room: Harbour B, and chaired by David G. Stork.


Distant Viewing Light Analysis of Figurative Paintings Using Spherical Harmonics (CVAA-176)

Pepe Ballesteros Zapata, University of Zurich; Dario Negueruela del Castillo, University of Zurich ; and Leonardo Impett, University of Cambridge

Abstract: This study presents a novel approach to understanding pictorial light in art history through computational methods. Leveraging inverse rendering algorithms, the project extracts complex lighting features from figurative paintings. We extract 3D data and Spherical Harmonics (SH) for efficient encoding of lighting information, allowing for a more nuanced capture of complex lighting conditions compared to previous methods limited to 2D information. The pipeline allows for the study of lighting features in a distant viewing setting. The study also proposes three alternative evaluation strategies to rigorously assess the viability and accuracy of the method. Although the exploration of visual patterns is a recurring focus in digital art history, this research is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to specifically target large-scale analysis of depicted lighting in figurative paintings.