The research group, which is managed by prof. Daniele Zavagno and Rossana Actis Grosso (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca) in collaboration with doctor Olga Daneyko (Sheffield Hallam University), is creating a database of faces in artwork. The images show paintings from 1200 to 1800 AD. The database is focused on faces depicting peculiar emotions, such as anger and joy. The original paintings are found mainly through the use of search engines, such as the Web Gallery of Art and museum sites and blogs. The pictures of the paintings are selected from high-quality samples (at least 2K pixels). The pictures are normalized using the software Adobe Photoshop. In this phase, the image is cropped on the face, squared to 20x20 cm. Then the sharpness is enhanced and the blurring reduced. The images are then stored in the database, ready to be used in psychological and cultural heritage studies.
The research group coordinated by prof. Proverbio in the cognitive electrophysiology laboratory works on the neuro aesthetics of music, the semiotics of music and visual arts, measuring the brain activity during music listening and paintings observing, and combining the scientific data with qualitative observations and assessment questionnaire. This group already studies cinema and soundtrack topics (such as “Musica da film” Rai4, 2020), and is now involved in the study of the role of ambient music on the aesthetics fruition of paintings in a museum, both under the emotional and the semantic aspects. The study showed that music combined with paintings modifies the observer state of mind, and transmits semantic signals, twisting the fruition of the painting.