Want to look like Mona Lisa? New website turns your selfies into Leonardo da Vinci portraits

A new website using artificial intelligence (AI) technology and sophisticated algorithms allows users to transform their faces into images in the style of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. the Da Vinci Face Platform invites participants to send in self-portraits which will then be transformed into “Leonardo-style” images.

The virtual platform was created by Mathema, a small technology company based in Florence. “We set out to bring the splendor of the Italian Renaissance back to life, recreating portraits in the style of the Great Masters of the past using the latest and most sophisticated AI technologies. We set out to start with the genius polymath the most famous in history: Leonardo DaVinci”, explains Massimiliano Bellini, Managing Director of Mathema.

He explains why the project was difficult. “Leonardo’s style is particularly difficult to grasp due to the widespread use of chiaroscuro, a painterly technique where shapes are formed directly from color instead of having a prior drawing which is then colored.”

The company then conducted extensive research on Da Vinci and AI techniques. “The former was relatively easy for us, having at hand in Florence many sources ranging from curators, books and articles to academic surveys. The latter was not so easy due to the fact that Leonardo’s style does not could not be captured with ordinary neural-style transfer techniques.” Mathema says he pioneered a new “deep learning technology” using 500 million parameters tied to machine learning algorithms.

The Da Vinci Face project is self-funded by Mathema, adds Bellini. “Subsequently, we received funding from certain cultural associations in Vinci, the town in Tuscany where Leonardo da Vinci was born. We are currently seeking additional funding to expand the project.

Sherry J. Basler