AI brings art to life at Ghent's Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) Ghent and Lean Mean Learning Machine have teamed up for a unique AI project that brings art to life. It allows visitors to have conversations with paintings, the press release reads.

The principle is simple: visitors can converse with figures depicted in paintings from the MSK collection by pressing a button and speaking into a microphone. This gives them a deeper insight into the artworks and encourages critical thinking and questioning.

For this pilot project, two works from the MSK collection have been given a voice thanks to AI: visitors can now discover the life of a 19th-century Flemish farming family in Jenny Montigny's 'The Cowshed' (1907) or soon engage in a discussion with Nell Duerinckx, depicted by her husband Rik Wouters in 'Seated Woman by the Window' (1915).

The AI technology is based on advanced algorithms that understand the essence of the artworks and the people depicted. The system uses historical and cultural information from experts from MSK and Lean Mean Learning Machine. This allows the AI to simulate realistic and informative dialogues based on the history and context of the paintings.

"AI, with all its uncertainties, seems to be an exciting and promising step towards a new future for museums," says Manfred Sellink, director of the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts. "The MSK is closely following digital and technological innovations. We are exploring what can help us improve the visitor experience in the museum and online, or even offer entirely new perspectives," he added. This pilot project is the first step towards a more interactive and engaging museum experience.



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