Aesthetic Evaluation of Digitally Reproduced Art Images

Claire Reymond*, Matthew Pelowski, Klaus Opwis, Tapio Takala, Elisa Mekler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Most people encounter art images as digital reproductions on a computer screen instead of as originals in a museum or gallery. With the development of digital technologies, high-resolution artworks can be accessed anywhere and anytime by a large number of viewers. Since these digital images depict the same content and are attributed to the same artist as the original, it is often implicitly assumed that their aesthetic evaluation will be similar. When it comes to the digital reproductions of art, however, it is also obvious that reproductions do differ from the originals in various aspects. Besides image quality, resolution, and format, the most obvious change is in the representation of color. The effects of subjectively varying surface-level image features on art evaluation have not been clearly assessed. To address this gap, we compare the evaluation of digital reproductions of 16 expressionist and impressionist paintings manipulated to have a high color saturation versus a saturation similar to the original. We also investigate the impact of viewing time (100 ms versus unrestricted viewing time) and expertise (art experts versus laypersons), two other aspects that may impact the perception of art in online contexts. Moreover, we link these dimensions to a recent model of aesthetic experience (the Vienna Integrated Model of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes in Art Perception). Results suggest that color saturation does not exert a major influence on liking. Cognitive and emotional aspects (interest, confusion, surprise, boredom), however, are affected—to different extents for experts and laypersons. For laypersons the increase in color saturation led to more positive assessments of an artwork, whereas it resulted in increased confusion for art experts. This insight is particularly important when it comes to reproducing artworks digitally. Depending on the intended use, increasing or decreasing the color saturation of the digitally reproduced image might be most appropriate. We conclude with a discussion of these findings and address the question of why empirical aesthetics requires more precise dimensions to better understand the subtle processes that take place in the perception of today’s digitally reproduced art environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number615575
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Aesthetic Evaluation of Digitally Reproduced Art Images'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this