Saturday, May 12, 2007


The Christian Science Monitor reports on a potential new weapon in the authenticity wars: stylometry. Which is pretty much what it sounds like:

"While the specifics of stylometric analysis differ depending on the medium being examined, the basic strategy is similar across the board. First, the work of art in question is divided into components, which can be words, high and low tones, or different visual frequencies (the frequency of a still pond in a painting is distinct from that of a busy flower garden, for example). Next, each component is subjected to statistical tests that measure how they compare to components of authentic works created by the same artist."

More from Wikipedia, which points out it's actually not so new: "Stylometry grew out of earlier techniques of analyzing texts for evidence of authenticity, authorial identity, and other questions. An early example is Lorenzo Valla's 1439 proof that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery, an argument based partly on a comparison of the Latin with that used in authentic 4th Century documents."