Logic of Sensation










Rembrandt van Rijn

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Oil on canvas
216.5 cm × 169.5 cm (85.2 in × 66.7 in)



Thomas Eakins

The Clinic of Dr. Agnew

Oil on canvas
214 cm × 300 cm




Enrique Simonet

Anatomy of Heart

Oil on canvas
177 cm x 291 cm


Pieter van Mierevelt

Anatomy lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer

Oil on canvas
144 cm x 198 cm

Logic of sensation is focused on the deconstruction of oil paintings depicting anatomical dissections or operations. This topic was chosen in particular because it shows one of our most important human characteristics, beyond self awareness, the need to self understand. In the images selected,  the search for understanding occurs quite literally through the tearing of skin, looking and touching inside, all with the hope of deciphering what make us live, what make us human.

Inspired by the idea of deconstructing to understand, the algorithm will analyze each painting pixel by pixel, looking for areas where the artist rendered high amounts of details. The software will then create a triangular mesh which triangle sizes vary depending of the amount of information given.  Smaller triangles represent areas in an information dense area and bigger triangles represent areas where the artist gave little information. These triangles are colored based on the average color from all the pixels contained within, also, smaller triangles are brought forward in this digital 3D space while bigger triangles are sent to the background.

As more time is invested by a viewer in observing the piece, more triangles begin to appear, slowly revealing more and more information. The observer can also move and walk about the piece to observe different perspectives of the 3D abstraction. If the observer decides to stop discovering and walks away or looks in a different location, the piece starts to deconstruct, reducing the triangle count and fades away. 



Thank you:
Daniel Shiffman
Marina Zurkow
Daniel Rozin

aa_debdeb for the breakdown of Delaunay Triangulation
University of Iowa for the breakdown of Edge Detection
atduskgreg for the Open CV libraries for Processing (Head Tracking)

Topologies - Quayola
Generative Portrait - Diana Lange
Roach, Mary. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, W. W. Norton & Company, 2004

Rembrandt van Rijn. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicales Tulp, 1632
Eakins, Thomas. The Clinic of Dr. Agnew, 1889
Somonet, Enrique. Anatomy of Heart, 1890
Van Mierevelt, Pieter, Anatomy lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer, 1617

Thank you as well to the supportive ITP community at NYU.