Ever Wondered What Your 15th Century Portrait Would Look Like?

Now there's a chance to find out. This website paints your picture as a Renaissance portrait in mere seconds.

Right off the tail end of FaceApp's aging features news, where people could upload and transform photos of themselves to see what their 60-year old selves would look like, there's now a new website that goes back in time. 

AI Portraits shows you what you'd look like during the Renaissance

And they decided to specifically focus on 15th century Renaissance portraits.


Created by a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and computer hardware company, IBM researchers, this site has people wondering how and why it was created. 

The 'How'

Researchers trained Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) models - a class of machine learning systems - to create human portraits. The team assimilated 45,000 portraits from different styles and levels of abstraction into the GAN models. 

Now, uploaded photos are redesigned, not simply transferred, and the online algorithm decides which style to use for the portrait. 

You may be depicted in any of these styles:

Ever Wondered What Your 15th Century Portrait Would Look Like?
 Source: AI Portraits
Ever Wondered What Your 15th Century Portrait Would Look Like?
 Source: AI Portraits
Ever Wondered What Your 15th Century Portrait Would Look Like?
We see above a few examples of the portraits created by AI Portraits Ars. A great variety of styles, from Lucian Freud to Giovanni Boldini, from John Singer Sargent to Vincent Van Gogh. Each painting from the training data has been carefully chosen to teach the neural network to learn from the most beautiful works. Source: AI Portraits

Essentially, they use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reproduce human portraits artistically.

The 'Why'

The researchers behind the tool are looking to explore some biases created by AI. For example, by solely selecting Western artistic traditions and painters, their algorithm naturally selects only specific styles. 

Some people had fun recreating the cast of Starwars: 

In the 'why' section of their site, the creators urge you to push these boundaries: "We encourage you to experiment with the tool as a way of exploring the bias of the model."

Furthermore, it also reads: "This inability of artificial intelligence to reproduce our smiles is teaching us something about the history of art." 


In a positive take after FaceApp's news of never deleting your images, even after you've canceled your app, AI Portraits claims to delete all images that were uploaded. 

What would Rembrandt or Caravaggio say? 

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