Tag Archives: mona-lisa

Art in 140 Characters

Is it possible to encode and compress an image to such a degree that the raw data can fit in a single Twitter message (140 characters) that, when decoded again, is still recognisable? The answer to the questions is a resounding Yes, as confirmed by a coding challenge inspired by Mario Klingemann’s attempt to compress and encode the Mona Lisa down to 140 characters.

Klingemann’s attempt, dubbed the MonaTweeta II, is definitely an image recognisable as the Mona Lisa, but it must be said that some of the entries to the main coding challenge are truly breathtaking.

The winning tweet (with a character to spare):

咏璘驞凄脒鵚据蛥鸂拗朐朖辿韩瀦魷歪痫栘璯緍脲蕜抱揎頻蓼債鑡嗞靊寞柮嚛嚵籥聚隤慛絖銓馿渫櫰矍昀鰛掾撄粂敽牙稉擎蔍螎葙峬覧絀蹔抆惫冧笻哜搀澐芯譶辍澮垝黟偞媄童竽梀韠镰猳閺狌而羶喙伆杇婣唆鐤諽鷍鴞駫搶毤埙誖萜愿旖鞰萗勹鈱哳垬濅鬒秀瞛洆认気狋異闥籴珵仾氙熜謋繴茴晋髭杍嚖熥勳縿餅珝爸擸萿

via @spolsky

Genetic Programming and the Evolution of Mona Lisa

The Final Evolution of Mona LisaRoger Alsing used a genetic algorithm to create a brilliant approximation of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa using only 50 semi-transparent polygons, evolving over approximately a million generations.

You can see the end result, after 904,314 generations here, but even after roughly 100,000 generations the image is impressive. I loved scrolling through the pictures, slowly seeing the finished article appearing.

Mona Lisa: The Science Behind That Smile

Why does the woman depicted in the Mona Lisa appear to be both smiling and not smiling at the same time? The smile part of the Mona Lisa’s face was painted by Leonardo in low spatial frequencies. This means that when you look right at her mouth, there’s no smile. But if you look at her eyes or elsewhere in the portrait, your peripheral vision picks up the smile.

I’ve heard this before, but I’m posting this today because I recently read this great quote from Stanley Kubrick:

How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: ‘The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover.’

via kottke