Mathematics can help identify and compare artistic style, from painting to literature to music, according to SFI External Professor Dan Rockmore, a professor at Dartmouth College, in a Santa Fe New Mexican “Science in a Complex World” column.

Rockmore describes his research and the work of others in the emerging field of stylometry, which provides a means of characterizing and quantifying style within literature, music, and the visual arts by breaking the medium down into it's component parts (words, in the example of literature) and then comparing frequencies and co-appearance of these elements in various ways.  

In his own research of the visual arts, Rockmore is putting together what he refers to as his own “dictionary of visual patches" that he believes might not only help identify an artist’s style but place art works in a particular period or sequence within art history -- even identify clever fakes.

Read the Santa Fe New Mexican article (June 26, 2011)