Search / Retrieval of artworks scenario


In the case of works of art or objects coming from the field of Cultural Heritage (CH), the data collected during digitization allows a complete chain of processing to be performed from the gathering of digital data to statistical analysis, including various techniques of pattern recognition and pattern classification to facilitate the work of art historians and museums curators. These techniques can be refined and adapted to numerous particular cases, for example, as we will see, to the analysis of vases.

In the analysis of an object by a CH expert, there is often the need to search for similar 3D objects. This search may be carried out using text queries that aim at retrieving objects with similar 32 metadata, but the CH expert is often more interested in searching for similar objects based on criteria that cannot be described in a few words. For instance, a CH expert may want to retrieve objects with similar shape (global or local), colour or texture.

  • Shape is the information about its size and its form. In the case of a collection of complete vases, the analysis of the shape can help to classify automatically the objects according to a notion, which is not easy to describe in words, but is immediately comprehensible by our brain. For instance, some shape characteristics are good discriminators for a particular region of production. In the case of vases for example the angle of the “neck” is characteristic of different families. The 3-dimensional scans of the objects may contain data about the micro structures of the vases, which can be also be analysed in different ways to classify the vases in separate groups. The thickness of the patterns can be particularly studied to discriminate groups of vases. Other information contained in the patterns can be used as well – for example the form of the designs - and can be combined with other data to refine the analysis.
  • An analysis of the information carried by the pigments (Colour and Chemical composition) of the vases can also be used for the classification of vases. The colour histogram of an object corresponds to the spectrum of the colours used to paint the vase. Such histogram is often a good discriminator of the period and/or region of product ion. Texture refers to the 2D artistic details/patterns on the surface of the object. For instance, in the case of Greek vases, the designs on red-figure vases or on black-figure vases from distinct periods obey distinct styles. The temporal evolution of the designs can be measured by the use of an adequate classification of the patterns, by composition, component detail, craftsmanship, etc.


"Oenochoé Levy", DAGER dept, INV. E658, Louvre Museum, France

Many acquisition systems are already available and continue to be developed that enable 3D objects to be digitized. This digitization may include 3D geometry (coarse and fine) and colour/texture information. In order to perform searches on such criteria, which can be and often are combined for more detailed searches, it is necessary that this information be extracted and organized in a manner that is suited to searches that may be conducted in the future. However, it is not necessarily known a priori which shape or colour/texture content (global? local?) may be relevant for future searches. For instance, while coarse shape information may be discriminative for classifying the types of pottery, the shape of some specific sub-part may be relevant for discriminating the regions of production. As a result, the knowledge and logic of the CH expert is very important in order to direct the search in specific directions.




Tag Cloud

Project Final Report

Prof David Arnold, University of Brighton

20 September 2013



The Grand Parade Exhibition

Upcoming Events



European Association of Archaeologists, 19th annual meeting

September 4th - September 8th, 2013, Pilsen, Czech Republic


Lucca Beni Culturali

October 11th - October 19th, 2013

read more


The 2013 International Congress on Digital Heritagenal

October 28th - November 1st, 2013, Marseille, France

Museums Association Conference

November 11th - November 12th, 2013, Liverpool, Great Britain

read more


more events...