Aesthetic Evaluation of Digitally Reproduced Art Images

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Frontiers in Psychology, articlenumber 615575
Most people encounter art images as digital reproductions on a computer screen instead of as originals in a museum or gallery. With the development of digital technologies, high-resolution artworks can be accessed anywhere and anytime by a large number of viewers. Since these digital images depict the same content and are attributed to the same artist as the original, it is often implicitly assumed that their aesthetic evaluation will be similar. When it comes to the digital reproductions of art, however, it is also obvious that reproductions do differ from the originals in various aspects. Besides image quality, resolution, and format, the most obvious change is in the representation of color. The effects of subjectively varying surface-level image features on art evaluation have not been clearly assessed. To address this gap, we compare the evaluation of digital reproductions of 16 expressionist and impressionist paintings manipulated to have a high color saturation vs. a saturation similar to the original. We also investigate the impact of viewing time (100 ms vs. unrestricted viewing time) and expertise (art experts vs. laypersons), two other aspects that may impact the perception of art in online contexts. Moreover, we link these dimensions to a recent model of aesthetic experience [the Vienna Integrated Model of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes in Art Perception (VIMAP)]. Results suggest that color saturation does not exert a major influence on liking. Cognitive and emotional aspects (interest, confusion, surprise, and boredom), however, are affected – to different extents for experts and laypersons. For laypersons, the increase in color saturation led to more positive assessments of an artwork, whereas it resulted in increased confusion for art experts. This insight is particularly important when it comes to reproducing artworks digitally. Depending on the intended use, increasing or decreasing the color saturation of the digitally reproduced image might be most appropriate. We conclude with a discussion of these findings and address the question of why empirical aesthetics requires more precise dimensions to better understand the subtle processes that take place in the perception of today’s digitally reproduced art environment.
Other note
Reymond, C, Pelowski, M, Opwis, K, Takala, T & Mekler, E 2020, ' Aesthetic Evaluation of Digitally Reproduced Art Images ', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 11, 615575 .