Creativity and art are usually thought of as the domains of humans.
But computer scientists from Rutgers University have designed an algorithm that shows that computers may be just as skilled at critiquing artwork. By judging paintings based on their novelty and influence, the mathematical algorithm selected the most creative paintings and sculptures of each era.
The study, published in arxiv, found that more often than not, the computer chose what most art historians would also agree are groundbreaking works, like Edvard Munch's "The Scream" and Pablo Picasso's "The Young Ladies of Avignon."
Scroll down to see which paintings made the cut, and why.
The algorithm's network included over 62,000 paintings spanning 550 years and some of the most well-known names in art history, from the Renassaince era to the age of pop art. This painting by Lorenzo di Credi is often called the Dreyfus Madonna, after Gustav Dreyfus, one of its longtime owners.
The paintings were arranged on a timeline according to the date it was made, so each painting could be critiqued with a historical point of view. The algorithm looked for paintings that differed from the work that came before to measure its novelty. This fresco mural by Andrea Mantegna decorates one of the walls in a castle in Mantua, Italy.
The computer algorithm also weighed how influential each painting was by looking at paintings that imitated its style. Leonardo da Vinci painted this portrait of St. John the Baptist late in his career, leading an artistic era called Mannerism, which is characterized by exaggerated poses.
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