Special Issue on the Skin of Things

Art and Perception recently published our special issue that organized after the first Skin of Things meeting. Because the journal is unfortunately not open access we have gathered the unedited manuscripts and would like to share them here. The DOI link brings you to the journal, the Preprint link to the manuscripts.


In the art of painting the rendering of space has always been considered of great importance, and perspective, shading and foreshortening have been widely studied. The rendering of materials is quite another matter. It was equally deemed essential for the art painting in the past, but it has received little scholarly or scientific attention until now. This symposium will be devoted both to the art historical aspects of the pictorial evocation of materials, and to the psychology and perception of material properties.

Besides a selection of invited speakers, we welcome proposals for contributions about representing material from both the fields of art history, perceptual studies and computer graphics.


In the case of art history we are thinking about topics as painterly techniques, theories of still life, or the development of different styles for depicting materials. In terms of period and region, some emphasis will be on the art of painting in 17th century Europe.

In the field of vision science we are looking forward to contributions concerned with material perception and rendering. We welcome recent findings in texture, material, shape, colour or light perception and rendering that may increase our understanding of how painters depict these. Also research using artefacts (like paintings) to gain novel insights into perception is much appreciated. Furthermore, we would like to organise an extra session concerned with art annotation and/or digital art history, depending on the number of contributions in this area.

If you feel in doubt whether your contribution would fit our scope, please feel free to contact us (e.g. m.w.a.wijntjes@tudelft.nl or J.F.H.J.Stumpel@uu.nl).

Venue and accommodation

Extended venue info

The symposium will take place in the ‘Ateliergebouw’ of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Accommodation is not included, but should be relatively easy to arrange since the venue is in the center of Amsterdam.

Atelier gebouw

Program (preliminary)

Monday 26 November

14:00 Registration  
14:30 Introduction  
14:45 Jeroen Stumpel The Skin of Things
15:45 Adrien Bousseau Computer Graphics for Photorealistic and Non-Photorealistic Depiction of Materials
16:45 Break  
17:15 Roland Fleming Visual Perception of Materials and their Properties
18:45 Reception @ Cafe Wildschut  

Tuesday 27 November

    Aesthetics of surface and material (chair: Jeroen Stumpel)
09:00 Ann-Sophie Lehmann Superficial Pleasures. Making and Experiencing Material Surfaces in the Visual Arts
09:20 David Romand Konrad Lange on “the illusion of materials” in painting and visual arts.
09:40 Hannah De Corte Against the grain. Emergence of the textile of the canvas at the surface of modern painting
10:00 Flip Phillips The Veiled Virgin Effect: Causal Layering of 3D Shape
10:20 Discussion  
10:40 Coffee  
    The eye and the machine (chair: Flip Phillips)
11:00 Peter Hall The Bones of Identity
11:20 Eugen Prokott Comparing Gloss Perception in Artificial Neural Networks to Human Observers
11:40 Katherine Storrs Machines that learn the quirks and failures of human gloss perception
12:00 Discussion  
12:20 Lunch & posters  
    Style and environment (chair: Arie Wallert)
14:00 Sumihiro Oki Between Reality and Symbol—Rocks in Early Netherlandish Painting
14:20 Isamu Motoyoshi Natural illumination and the style of western and eastern paintings
14:40 Anya Hurlbert The Significance of Colour in Paintings: Does it Tell the Time?
15:00 Discussion  
15:20 Coffee  
    Technique and material 1 (chair: Indra Kneepkens)
15:40 Arie Wallert The Thing of Skins
16:00 Carmen Di Meo Painted with Constellations of Minute Dots of Light Colour
16:20 Vivian Paulun Visual perception of deformable things
16:40 Aditya Sole Measuring and Understanding Visual Appearance
17:00 Discussion  
17:20 Break  
17:30 Henk Helmantel Demonstration workshop (selected work)
18:30 Finish  

Wednesday 28 November

    Colours and (sub)surface (chair: Anya Hurlbert)
09:00 Marjolijn Bol Gems, Glow, and Glazing - Chapters in the Art of Painting Splendour
09:20 Karl Gegenfurthner Color saturation and the skin of fruits
09:40 Katja Doerschner Color constancy for translucent materials
10:00 Bilge Sayim Transparency in Visual Art
10:20 Discussion  
10:40 Coffee  
    Technique and material 2: 17th century (chair: Ann-Sophie Lehman)
11:10 Mitchell van Zuijlen The perceptual qualities of things
11:30 Lisa Wiersma and Francesca Di Cicco The appeal of painted grapes: visualising the system behind material properties painting
11:50 Carol Pottasch De suyverheit en de cloecke trecken’ (‘The clear and bold design’) in Frans van Mieris’ work
12:10 Ulrike Kern Highlights, lustre and the surface of things. 
12:30 Discussion  
12:50 Lunch & closing  
13:40 Start workshop & tour  
17:30 Finish workshop, see results  

Poster programme

1 Kandinsky or Me? How Free is the Eye of the Beholder in Abstract Art? Doris I. Braun
2 Toward a Perceptual Standard for High Gloss Materials Jacob R. Cheeseman
3 Towards Visual Cues in Translucency Perception of Sea Paintings Cristina Spoiala
4 Aspects of Material Softness During Haptic Explorations Dicle Dovencioglu
5 The Role of Processed Linseed Oils and Additives in the Rendering of Illusionistic Effects in Early Modern Oil Paint- ing Indra Kneepkens
6 Grasping the Skin of Things Guido Maiello
7 The Effectiveness of EnChroma Filters When Viewing Artwork Lucy Somers
8 How Neural Networks Perceive the Viscosity of Liquids Jan Jaap R. van Assen
9 Amodal Presence and Absence in Visual Art: Magritte, Baldessari, Catalano, Picasso Rob van Lier
10 An Image Computable Model of Human Planar Shape Similarity Yaniv Morgenstern
11 Understanding Gloss Perception Through the Lens of Art: Combining Perception, Image Analysis and Painting Recipes of 17th Century Painted Grapes Francesca Di Cicco
12 The perceptual qualities of 17th century velvet and satin depiction Maarten Wijntjes

Instructions for presentations

Oral presentations

We categorised your presentations in themes, feel free to be inspired! Furthermore, at the end of the sessions we schedule a 20 minute plenary discussion to find parallels across talks and theme and maybe discuss related art works. Your own talks lasts 20 minutes including time for questions.

Poster presentations

The heart of the symposium! We will have a long lunch and poster discussion on Tuesday. To get everyone informed well, we would like to show previews for which we need a visual, instructions will follow later. Importantly, your poster is A0, portrait orientation.


Registration is open here. The registration fee (50 euro) covers coffee and lunch. If you are not on the list (use the email address that you used for correspondence), please contact us. Seats are limited and we will review your request on the basis of matching interest/expertise.


We are very grateful to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in funding this symposium.



Special issue in Art and Perception

After the symposium you are invited to submit a manuscript to a special issue in Art and Perception, more info will be shared at a later moment. Note that this will entail an independent manuscript submission process. Participation to the workshop is neither necessary nor a guarantee for acceptance.

Organising committee