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Intrigued by an information visualisation method called ‘treemapping’, I created an algorithm in Houdini that would do the subdivisions. The algorithm takes the original image, calculates the density of information and then subdivides it, based on a few user-controllable parameters.

The result is a mosaic of rectangles that highlight the subtle changes in the colour palette of the original. The more information there is the on the original, the more it is subdivided and thus the smaller the rectangle elements. The less information, the larger the rectangle area. You could say there is a similarity to the painters’ approach of using broader and finer strokes.

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Portrait of Rosalba Peale by Rembrandt Peale
ca 1820, oil on canvas, 50.8 x 37.0 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Rembrandt tutored his daughter Rosalba (1799-1874) in art and raised her as an independent and strong-minded woman. Author and critic John Neal wrote that "Her mind is excellent. Her father has always taught her to think for herself, to reason, and to be firm, without wrangling or argument, in the expression of her opinions." (from the Smithsonian American Art Museum)


Portrait of Johannes Wtenbogaert
by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
1633, oil on canvas, 130 × w 103 cm, Amsterdam Rijksmuseum

In 1633 Rembrandt painted the famous Portrait of Johannes Wtenbogaert (1557-1644). Henk van Os (‘Zien is genoeg’, uitgeverij Balans, Amsterdam, 2005, p. 83-99) writes: “Rembrandt does not elevate you, but he helps makes visible the depth of your feelings and provides consolation”. The face still radiates liveliness, sadness, after a lifetime of turmoil, at the age of 76. It almost speaks to the viewer with an expression of quiet acceptance in the sitter’s intelligent, soft, moist and perhaps wise eyes (Drs. Kees Kaldenbach, art historian).