Expression Analysis in Paintings

For the exhibition entitled “Emotions: Pain and pleasure in Dutch painting of the Golden Age” in Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands, we have developed an automatic system to analyze facial expressions in paintings of faces. Using the resulting system, face paintings in the exhibition were interpreted in terms of basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust, and contempt. Estimated facial expressions have been visually represented to visitors of Frans Hals Museum. The results of the automatic analysis reveal the high quality of emotion portrayals produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This work is supported by Insidde project under the European Union Seventh Framework Programme.

This system was on display in the Frans Hals Museum for four months, with an audience of approximately 100,000 visitors. Based on my research on facial expressions and artworks, I have recently given a talk at TEDx Delft Salon.