Cultural heritage: Project ShareArt, to "measure" the appreciation of works of art with artificial intelligence, kicks off


The project ShareArt, implemented by ENEA and Istituzione Bologna Musei, to monitor the appreciation and fruition dynamics of artworks thanks to artificial intelligence and big data applications, was presented in Bologna.

The innovative system -the result of a work  involving ENEA researchers from different areas[1], can "measure" the appreciation of a work of art by sharing information obtained by recording and monitoring some indicators, without directly involving visitors, through a typical big data application capable of obtaining information by exploring large amounts of different data.

The system consists of a series of data acquisition devices, currently available on the market at low cost, which, equipped with a camera, collect the information and send it to a central storage and processing server, which takes place via a web application dedicated to interactive multidimensional analysis.

"Through a camera positioned near the artwork, the system automatically detects faces looking towards the artwork, acquiring data on the behavior of observers such as the path taken to approach, the number observers, the time and distance of observation, the gender, the age class and the mood of the observers", explained ENEA experts Stefano Ferriani, Giuseppe Marghella, Simonetta Pagnutti and Riccardo Scipinotti.

In this complex management stage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ShareArt can also be used to improve the safety of museums by verifying the proper use of masks and visitors distancing, activating in real time a visual signal to remind visitors to comply with the rules.

The first outcomes of the experiment showed that most of the visitors are alone and wear their masks correctly.

"There are questions that resonate within the walls of a museum. What is art appreciation? What are the variables that might affect it? Traditional answers are unsufficient", pointed out at the event Roberto Grandi, president of Istituzione Bologna Musei. "So - he said - Bologna Musei and ENEA tokk some rooms of the Municipal Art Collections and turned them into a lab- in- the- field, to study in-depth artworks fruition dynamics in relation to  space and time.

The way visitors observe, how they get to the artwork and how long they observe it help museum curators  better understand visitors’behaviours and researchers have a deeper knowledge of the dynamics of perception of appreciation by collecting and processing a large amount of data. It is a fascinating journey and we are pleased to make it with a scientific institution of excellence like ENEA ".

The data collected are a precious wealth of information for museum operators that, by analyzing concrete data can highlight strengths and possible critical issues, evaluate improvements to maximize the focus on the artworks and optimize the exhibition path, later measuring the effects of the actions taken.

The collaboration between ENEA and Istituzione Bologna Musei is part of the research and development of big data, to which the Emilia-Romagna Region is strongly committed, with the creation in the Bologna Technopole of a computing power and supercomputing, big data and artificial intelligence expertise of international significance.

For more information please contacti:

Giuseppe Marghella, ENEA - Laboratory of Technologies for Structural Dynamics and Prevention of Seismic and Hydrogeological Risk ,

Video project 'Share Art' with anti Covid alert



[1] Department of Energy Technologies and Renewable Sources; Sustainability of Productive and Territorial Systems; Antarctica Technical Unit.

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