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How to identify a painting

It is easy to learn more about a known work of art, but it can be difficult to identify an unknown or obscure art. There are so many paintings that the chance to find information about a specific image can feel invincible. Fortunately, you can dramatically narrow your search by evaluating composition, subject and style. Start by using an image recognition and reverse image search app. Museums and art historians are constantly striving to upload and catalog paintings and artists online, so it may be easier than you think to find the information you are looking for!

[ Edit ] Step

[ Edit ] Find the artwork quickly

  1. Use an app to identify the painting immediately. If you are struggling to remember an artist name or want more information on a particular painting, download an image recognition app designed specifically for art. There are several apps for both Android and iPhone that allow you to take a photo of a painting to search through museum catalogs, university databases and art history texts. This is the easiest way to find a specific painting. [1]
      Identifying a painting Step 1 version 2.jpg
    • The two most popular apps for recognizing artwork are Smartify and Magnus. Both of these apps will receive information about the artist's work, as well as interesting facts and background information about the composition.
    • These apps only have access to paintings that have been documented and cataloged by curators, professors, historians, and other artists. If the painting is made by a more obscure artist, these apps may not work.
  2. Run a reverse image search if you have a digital copy of the painting. If you are looking at a painting on your computer or phone, run a reverse image search. Copy and paste the image URL into the search engine. Run the search to get other websites that show the painting. This gives you access to a variety of websites that will tell you everything you need to know about the painting. [2]
      Identifying a painting Step 2 version 2.jpg
    • If you are using Google Chrome, you can right-click an image and select "Search Google for this image" to search the web.
    • You can download an image and upload it to the engine instead of copying and pasting the URL if you prefer.
    • The most popular reverse search is TinEye, but there are several options available online.
  3. Use the signature or monogram to dig online and find the image. Look in the corners of the painting to see if there is a signature or monogram. If the name is easy to read, simply look up the artist's name online to find the painting. If it is more difficult to read, look carefully to see if you can break down the letters and read them. This allows you to narrow your search and find out who the artist is, which can make it easier to find your specific painting. [3]
      Identifying a painting Step 3 version 2.jpg
    • A monogram refers to a 2- to 3-letter design that contains the artist's initials. Monograms tend to be more popular with painters who worked after the 19th century.
    • Signatures were almost never used before the Renaissance, which began around 1300. Although you cannot identify a signature, you have at least one baseline for your search! [4]
    • You must register for a free account to use it, but you can use https://artistssignatures.com/ to reverse the search for an artist's signature. This is useful if you think you can read the signature but want to double-check to make sure you do not read incorrectly.

[ Edit ] Evaluate the composition

  1. Ask an expert to identify the era, style or painter of an image. Send an email or visit a museum curator, art history professor or gallery owner to ask if they can take a look at the photo. An expert in the art field can offer insights on the period, the style and give you a better sense of where to look. They may even know who the artist is as soon as they look at it! [5]
      Identifying a painting Step 4 version 2.jpg
    • If you contact a gallery owner, you can try to find a gallery that specializes in the type of art you are trying to identify. For example, a modern abstract work will be easier to identify if the gallery owner mainly focuses on newer artists.
  2. Use obvious clues in the topic to narrow the date. Contemporary painters can paint people or objects from the past, but they can't travel time! If there is a train, company logo, digital clock or any other time-specific component in the painting, this is a great way to set a baseline for your search. You can get a good overall feeling for when a painting may have been done simply by asking yourself when an artist would have painted his subject.
      Identifying a painting Step 5 version 2.jpg
    • For example, not many painters living today paint portraits of Spanish aristocrats from the 17th century, and absolutely no painted pictures of Elvis Presley before 1954!
    • If, for example, there is a small aircraft in the background of the painting, you know that the painting must have been done after 1903, because that was when Wilbur and Orville Wright first successfully flew a plane.
  3. Identify the artistic movement by assessing the painting. There are various artistic movements throughout history that share similar characteristics. Determining the movement associated with an image is a great way to quickly narrow your search as historians group artists from the same movement together. [6]
      Identifying a painting Step 6 Version 2.jpg [19659031] There are hundreds of movements; If you can't figure out the movement at first glance, look through museum catalogs and online collections to find similar paintings. </li>
<li>  Determine if the artist used acrylic paint to see if it was made after 1940. Get as close to the image as possible. If the color looks flat and the darker colors do not reflect light, it is probably oil color. If the color is reflective, shiny and looks like plastic, it is probably acrylic paint. Acrylic paint was not used in art until 1940, so you have a much smaller period to search through. <sup id= [7]
      Identifying a painting Step 7 version 2.jpg
    • If more than one medium was used to produce a work, it is very likely that the image was created after 1900. It was quite rare before this period to combine several materials to produce a painting.
    • This is much harder to do if you "look at a digital image, but if the colors are almost supernaturally bright or neon, the painting was probably done with acrylic.
  4. Assess the quality of the canvas or If the cloth is pasted uniformly into the frame, it is unlikely that it was made before 1900, which is when the tablecloths were first mass produced, or you can assume that the painting is relatively newer if it is on paper and there are no demolitions. , damage or general wear. Paper is relatively fragile, and it is unlikely that a new paper is particularly old. [8]
      Identifying a painting Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • If the cloth hangs loose on frame, the painting may have been done before 1600. Prior to 1600, most artists were not very good at stretching the fabric against the frame.
  5. Search through websites and directories for If you know you are looking for art from a specific time period or movement, go online and browse through galleries and websites related to this type of art. Look for paintings that are similar in style, color and composition. You can also go through museum databases and encyclopedias to find your image to do so as well. With enough luck you will find the artist! [9]
      Identifying a painting Step 9 version 2.jpg
    • Almost every major museum has an online dataset that you can search for. Search these directories to find similar works that may belong to your artist.
    • Once you have the artist it is quite easy to find the specific painting. Museums and universities often catalog and document the entire work of famous painters, so you should be able to find the specific painting just by looking online.

[ Edit ] Use Less obvious details

  1. Inspect the back of the painting to find notes from previous owners. If you really can't find anything about an image in your possession using traditional search methods, flip the tablecloth and look at the back. If the image is a print or a reproduction, it may be listed on the back. If the painting is a family heirloom or purchased in a thrift store, there may be a handwritten note describing where the painting is from. [10]
      Identifying a painting Step 10 version 2.jpg [19659047] Use the other steps in this method first before looking for lesser known details. It is possible that the painting is a reproduction, print or mass produced version of a popular painting. </li>
<li>  If you see 2-3 numbers in one corner, you probably bought the painting at a thrift store or retail store. Employees in these stores often write the price on the back of a work. It is unlikely that you will be able to identify the artist or image in this case. </li>
<li>  Check the frame to see if you can find a manufacturer. Inspect the frame on the back and look for an imprint or label. Frame manufacturers often write a company name on the back. If there is a name, contact the manufacturer to learn more about the frame itself. This can drastically limit the region and the time period in which a painting was produced. <sup id= [11]
      Identifying a painting Step 11 version 2.jpg
    • If you only have the canvas and there is no frame, check the tree part of the canvas at the back. Before 1900, most artists stretched their own canvases. If there is a signature on the wooden frame, it is probably the artist's.
    • This is not really a useful alternative if the painting is well known or really old, as it was probably framed at some point.
  2. Take a large collection from an unknown painter to an art dealer. If you stumble upon a large number of paintings and you cannot find a thing about the artist online or through close inspection, contact an art dealer. Many lifelong artists simply paint because they like it, and it is possible that you may have stumbled upon a unique collection from a completely unknown artist! [12]
      Identifying a painting Step 12 version 2.jpg

[ Edit ] Tip

  • If you want to find out about a painting in your possession is worth something, contact an evaluation service. It really is the only way to authentically confirm if your painting is worth something or not. [13]
  • For many paintings, it is impossible to say definitively who painted the work or when it was done. You may be able to make an educated guess about the era or the artist's background, though!

[ Edit ] References

  1. [1945 https://www.newscientist.com / article / 2123373-image-recognition-app-scanner-paintings-to-act -as-shazam-for-art /
  2. https://www.fastcompany.com/90166015/this-new- google-tool-is-like-reverse-image-search-for-color- palettes
  3. https://americanart.si.edu/research/my-art/signatures-monograms-markings
  4. https://aleteia.org/2019/01/05/ why-didnt-medieval-artists-sign-their-work /
  5. https://americanart.si.edu/research / my-art / first-step
  6. https: / /www.theartstory.org/movement/realism/
  7. https://youtu.be/6D5cKPAjnAk?t=6 [19659068] ↑ https://mymodernmet.com/art-history- canvas prints /
  8. https://americanart.si.edu/research/my-art/prints-posters [19659070] ↑ https://americanart.si- https: // news.artnet.com/art-world / undiscovered-rembrandt-hermitage-amsterdam-1286810 greece 19659073 vard 1945 https://americanart.si.edu/research/my-art/object-worth [19659074]
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