Image Processing Algorithms for Art Conservation (2017-2018)

Imaging technology is increasingly being used by museums to digitally preserve artwork, as well as to analyze and nondestructively reconstruct paintings. A major accomplishment in this field was the digitization of the Ghent Altarpiece in high-resolution images, and x-ray and infrared modalities.

Researchers at Duke previously digitally rejuvenated a 14th century altarpiece by Francescuccio Ghissi depicting scenes from St. John’s life. The process involved detection and painting of cracks formed due to the expansion and contraction of the wood panel of the painting, restoration of aged color pigments and animation of the gold gilding.

In 2016-2017, a Bass Connections team and a related Data+ team streamlined and automated the rejuvenation process with minimal user inputs by building a prototype for an app in open source software. In 2017-2018, this Bass Connections team continued to work on automating the rejuvenation process to make it feasible for distribution to a wider audience in the form of a website, mobile app and crowdsourcing.

Collaborated with the North Carolina Museum of Art, the team did additional digital rejuvenation work on a Peruzzi Altarpiece painted in the 14th century by Giotto di Bondone, Van Gogh paintings and the Ghent Altarpiece.


Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Team Outcomes

Image Processing Algorithms for Art Conservation (poster by Gilad Amitai, Michael Gattas, Nazli Gungor, Ashley Kwon, Ivy Shi, Wei Zhu, Ingrid Daubechies), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

This Team in the News

AI Uncovers New Details About Old Master Paintings

AI Reveals the Hidden Layers of Great Art

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

Mathematicians Helping Art Historians and Art Conservators - Ingrid Daubechies (Duke University)

See earlier related projects, Image Processing Algorithms for Art Conservation (2016-2017)and Smartphone-assisted Digital Rejuvenation of Medieval Paintings (Data+ 2017).

Exhibition view

Team Leaders

  • Ingrid Daubechies, Arts & Sciences-Mathematics
  • Ed Triplett, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Gilad Amitai, Statistical Science - MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Lizzet Clifton, Computer Science (AB), Visual and Media Studies (AB2)
  • Michael Gattas, Economics (BS), Computer Science (AB2)
  • Nazli Gungor, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), Computer Science (BSE2)
  • Ashley (Hojung) Kwon, Computer Science (BS), Art History (AB2)
  • Mitchell Parekh, Computer Science (BS)
  • Jia Chen (Ivy) Shi, Computer Science (BS), Visual and Media Studies (AB2)
  • Thomas Tilton, Computer Science (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • North Carolina Museum of Art