Networks & The Liberal Arts

Bits are Beautiful: The Girl with a Pearl Earring

Posted in Art, Digital Humanities by telombardi on June 27, 2013


Vermeer’s masterpiece is currently in the United States.  In honor of the “Dutch Mona Lisa”, I’ve prepared this image comprising seven transformations of the Girl with the Pearl Earring.

The blue background including the star burst is the fast Fourier transformation of the Girl with a Pearl Earring.  Then from left to right the transformations are: Sobel edges, Canny edges, gradient edges, block variation of local correlation coefficients, block difference of inverse probabilities, and a spatial chromatic histogram.  Finally, of course, we have the original image.

I created these transformations for a dissertation in digital image processing completed in 2005.  The project aimed to extract features from paintings for the purpose of describing artistic style.  Although I don’t work in this area much anymore, I always loved the project and these images in particular.

If you think that this is interesting, please consider attending THATCamp Pittsburgh on October 5th-6th, 2013.  For more details, please visit the following website:

Also,  please take this opportunity to see Vermeer’s spectacular work.  You can read more about where to see The Girl with a Pearl Earring on these sites:

The Mauritshuis Gallery, Collection on Tour:

Carol Vogel, “A Venerable Fresh Face Goes on Tour,” New York Times, January 26th, 2012: