Many people seem to consider the enhancing of an image on a computer as a deformation - debasement, and may consider this as a threat to scholarship and the enjoyment of art .
To the contrary, this ''enhancement'' of the painting enables it now to be seen in its pristine condition as it was at the time it was created. Most art today is viewed lined up on a wall competing with each other, behind glass, and exposed to the harsh never changing glare of the unchangeable spotlight. The artist, on purpose, designed his art to be viewed in wonderful shadows (read Junichiro Tanizaki's little book, "In Praise of Shadows,") as well as sunlight and candlelight; the paintings appear different in all these various conditions. The artist never experienced electric illumination which tends to flatten and virtually destroy the paintings delicate beauty.
By necessity, the art is photographed under artificial light, subject to the mercy of the properties of film and the inconsistencies inherent in developing it. These obstacles which invariably alter the appearance of the original painting, as well as those caused by ageing or accidents, can now be reversed by using the wonderful capabilities of the computer. By hanging the original painting directly alongside the computer's monitor, this time illuminated under the soft translucent light as it passes through paper shoji doors; the digitalized image can be carefully altered to return the painting to its original condition and beauty. It can be restored to the appearance under which the artists who painted it expected it to be seen. No reproduction process today can match the beauty and the accuracy of the color corrected image produced by the computer.
Now, because of the marvels of the computer age, people can experience the art as it should be displayed. The computer should be praised, not feared, for it will allow us to see so much beauty now deprived from us by fears of safety, indifference, and greed.
This potency of the computer to restore, and sharpen and enhance the art for the viewer is not the only fascinating aspect of its capability. What is really exciting is its ability to go beyond the human eye and human limitations to make it possible to see things that were unavailable before digitalization.
Digitalized images are composed of tiny squares called pixels
(each of these little squares are what call upon those 16.7 million colors for shading). Whenever an image is magnified to
such a size that these paintings break down into visible pixels, the skill of the artist is exposed in a way never before imagined.
I am quite sure, with further research, an artist's style, his DNA so to speak, could be cataloged as another way to decern his authenticity.
Another use of the amazing capability of the computer, is to make an image transparent
and move it over the surface of the other painting. It is fascinating to see what happens.
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