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):


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