Going into the Mines…of Data

Reading about data mining and thought about the work of one person tracking the history of particular words or phrases over time. This was by tracking words and by putting in A HUMONGOUS bunch of texts into a database.

Could the same be done with images? But how would the images actually be “read”? I guess you would have to be careful with your metadata – really descriptive perhaps? So, for this image:


I would have to very carefully (and not sure how to do it) put in words about the fact that the Virgin holds Christ’s left foot with her right hand – and note that

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in this work she touches the child’s right foot with her left hand (but in a different arrangement altogether).

Would this be what it would take to ‘read’ the frequency of poses in paintings like the history of particular features (words or phrases) in a specific period’s poetry?

This is a question about quantitative data. I think in general most art historians (at least this one) does very little thinking about quantitative anything. But maybe it could be very helpful for this project? I hope to learn more about this tomorrow and work to apply it.

Source: Going into the Mines…of Data