Evolutionary Reproduction of Dutch Masters: The Mondriaan and Escher Evolvers

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Eibe, A. E. : Evolutionary Reproduction of Dutch Masters: The Mondriaan and Escher Evolvers. In: Romero, Juan; Machado, Penousal: The Art of Artificial Evolution. Springer, Berlin, 2007, S. 211-224.




Creative evolutionary systems are often concerned with producing images of high artistic quality. A key challenge to such a system is to be human-competitive by producing the same quality. Then, mimicking existing human artists could be seen as a canonical benchmark, not unlike the Turing test for intelligence. This chapter discusses two applications aimed at evolving images in the styles of two well-known Dutch painters: Mondriaan and Escher. For both cases we have an evaluation criterion based on “style-fidelity” as perceived and judged by the users. In other words, here we have a target style, which makes the (subjective) selection less free than in applications solely aiming at nice images. Technically, the Mondriaan evolver is less difficult, given that his most popular style “simply” uses horizontal and vertical lines, and primary colours to fill the resulting rectangles. The Escher evolver project is more challenging. First, because Escher’s style is less simple to capture. Second, the system is tested in vivo, in a real museum, posing requirements on the interface. We describe how to meet the style challenge based on the mathematical system behind Escher’s tiling. Designing a suitable representation and the corresponding variation operators based on this system specifies an appropriate search space guaranteeing the Escher style to some extent and leaving enough freedom for the selection. As for the second objective, we describe two versions that differ in the way the images are presented to, respectively evaluated by the visitors. The experiences gained during a six-month exhibition period in the City Museum in The Hague, The Netherlands, are discussed from the visitors’ perspective as well as from the algorithmic point of view and are illustrated with some “evolved Escher’s”.

Extended Abstract


booktitle={The Art of Artificial Evolution},
series={Natural Computing Series},
editor={Romero, Juan and Machado, Penousal},
title={Evolutionary Reproduction of Dutch Masters: The Mondriaan and Escher Evolvers},
url={http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-72877-1_10 http://de.evo-art.org/index.php?title=Evolutionary_Reproduction_of_Dutch_Masters:_The_Mondriaan_and_Escher_Evolvers },
publisher={Springer Berlin Heidelberg},
author={Eiben, A.E.},

Used References

Bentley, P., ed. (1999). Evolutionary Design by Computers. Morgan Kaufmann

Bentley, P., Corne, D., eds. (2002). Creative Evolutionary Systems. Academic Press

Eiben, A., Smith, J. (2003). Introduction to Evolutionary Computing. Springer

van Hemert, J., Eiben, A. (1999). Mondriaan art by evolution. In Postma, E., Gyssens, M., eds.: Proceedings on the Eleventh Belgium-Netherlands Confererence on Artificial Intelligence (BNAIC’99). AI, 291–293

Eiben, A., Nabuurs, R., Booi, I. (2002). The Escher evolver: Evolution to the people. In Bentley, P., Corne, D., eds.: Creative Evolutionary Systems. Academic Press, 425–439

Escher, M., Bool., F. (1986). Regular Divisions of the Plane at the Haags Gemeentemuseum. Haags Gemeentemuseum

Schattschneider, D. (1990). Visions of Symmetry: Notebooks, Periodic Drawings, and Related Work of M.C. Escher. W.H. Freeman and Company

Koza, J., Keane, M., Yu, J., Bennett, F., Mydlowec, W. (2000). Automatic creation of human-competitive programs and controllers by means of genetic programming. Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines, 1(1): 121–164


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