Software to spot forgeries

London, October 12:

Spotting a forged painting is a laborious process, typically involving hours of painstaking analysis by art experts. But a computer programme could slash the time it takes by spotting the telltale patterns and techniques used by individual artists.

Using high-resolution scans of paintings, the Authentic software builds up a library of characteristics, such as brushstrokes, colours and type of canvas used, that form a ‘fingerprint’ for a particular artist.

A painting can then be compared against this fingerprint to help experts decide whether it is a fake.

Igor Berezhnoy of the University of Maastricht, who developed the software with colleague

Eric Postma, said the technique was not designed to replace the opinions of art historians but as a tool that would help them with their work. “We do not play art experts and we do not make decisions,” he said.