September 28, 2023


Make Some Fun

105/ Historical past of my mission in progress (2): inventive productiveness, the lengthy tail and the canon

7 min read

Statistical evaluation on the ordinal degree of measurement might be understood as a rating of the variety of particular gadgets produced by a given supply in a dataset. On this ‘mission in progress’ the gadgets are the Venus-artworks produced by the supply = artists. In a paper of 2015 entitled ‘Distant Viewing in Artwork Historical past. A Case Research of Creative Productiveness’ it was demonstrated {that a}n inverse energy equation describes this extremely uneven relationship (1). The measurements and computations for The French Venus revised model v2.1.4, mentioned within the foregoing publish (2), verify once more this outstanding empirical end result (Fig.1).

In lots of research the connection has been termed a manufacturing course of of productiveness and merchandise described by a curve with a ‘head’ and a ‘lengthy tail’ (3) (Fig.1). This method permits for a important analysis of the artwork historic canon.


Determine 1: Productiveness versus Merchandise and

Measurements of dataset v2.1.4 fitted by Lotka’s Regulation

Extra about Lotka’s legislation and

its relation to content material on the internet

 The equation  utilized within the paper cited above (1) and proven in Fig.1 :

y = C / xa

with y = relative variety of artists who created x artworks; C = a relentless; x = discrete variety of artworks created by an artist; a = an exponent and thus, y =C = relative variety of artists who created just one paintings of their life-time (x = 1)

has been generally known as the Lotka-law of scientific manufacturing in bibliometric analyses of scientific papers since 1926, the place the values of Cand ahave been typically discovered to be nearly fixed, i.e. C = 0,6 and a = 2. A goodness-of-fit measure between the equation and the info is the correlation coefficient R2 with 0 < R2 < 1.

The values in Fig.1 discovered for 1,607 artists (i.e. with surnames in alphabetical order A…Okay in v2.1.4) C = 0,624, a = 2,100 and R2 = 0,966 are near these present in Vol.2.1 for under 977 artists (with surnames in alphabetical order A…Z) C = 0,641 and a = 2,036 with R2 = 0,991 (1, p.104 Desk 1 pattern 2). The values for the mixed set of knowledge of all catalogues with 5,401 artists have been C = 0,650 and a = 2,089 with R2 = 0,994 (1, p.105, Fig.3).

In these computations the values are cut-off at x = 10 for sensible  causes. Within the meta-analysis of two comparable datasets of The Italian Venus Vol.1.1 / Vol.1.2 with extremely totally different variety of artists, 649 and 1840 respectively, outcomes for x > 10 on a double logarithmic scale have been additional analysed (4).

Egghe (5) has introduced in 2005 the theoretical background of this equation and its values Cand a.He coined its functions ‘Lotkaian informetrics’ within the common context of ‘Info Manufacturing Processes (IPP)’. In different phrases: Lotka’s legislation describes the quantitative relation between the producers and the knowledge gadgets being produced. A remarkably profitable utility of Egghe’s method is the quantitative evaluation of ‘Consumer-Created Content material’ on the internet in 2008 (6). 

Rodríguez-Ortega described in 2018 “… decanonization (in artwork historical past) as a means of ‘customers’ interactions with cultural content material on the internet or by way of digital means (…) with the potential to redirect consideration towards a much wider spectrum of cultural manufacturing than was thought of by historic canons.” (7).  

That is certainly precisely the import of this mission in progress.

All concerning the ‘head’, the ‘lengthy tail’,

the canon and decanonization

 There is no such thing as a strict definition what a part of the distribution is the ‘lengthy tail’ on the proper aspect, and what’s the ‘head’on the left aspect in Fig.1. A easy method is to separate the distribution in two elements with the areas of each areas equal. Within the case mentioned right here, the areas characterize the whole variety of 4,411 artworks produced by the 1,607 artists within the dataset v2.1.4. The pink space headis then cut-off at x = 6 with 2,252 artworks, produced by about 84% (y = 0,0093) of the artists. Thus the orange space lengthy tail incorporates 2,159 artworks from x = 7 onwards, created by ca 16% of the artists. Thus the ‘head’ counts 1,350 artists, the ‘lengthy tail’ solely 257 artists.

Allow us to examine this distribution to the normal canon of artists who depicted Venusof their works. The great thematic monograph edited by Mai & Weber-Woelk, accompanying the exhibition of Venus-artworks held in 2000-2001 in Köln, München and Antwerp, might be one of the best reference for this canon (8). Among the many greater than 30 French artists cited in a number of chapters and within the register of the monograph, 17 belong to the chosen ones within the partial dataset v2.1.4 ((i.e. with surnames in alphabetical order A…Okay). Who’re these artists and the place do they belong within the distribution (Desk 1)?

Desk 1. Partial checklist of the canon-artists in dataset v2.1.4 of this mission


SURNAME, given title

born (b.) – died (d.)

x artworks made in life-time


b.1806,8 Montrouge – d.1885 Paris


AUDRAN (I), Benoit

b.1661 Lyon – d.1721 Paris


AVELINE (II), Pierre-Alexandre

b.c1702,1710 Paris? – d.1760 ?


BAUDRY, Paul Jacques Aimé

b. 1628 La Roche – d.1886 Paris


BONNET, Louis Marin

b.1736 Paris – d.1793


BOUCHER, François

b.1703 Paris – d.1770


BOUGUEREAU, William- Adolphe

b.1825 La Rochelle – d.1905


CABANEL, Alexandre

b.1823 Montpellier – d.1889 Paris



b.1839 Aix en Provence – d.1906


COURBET, Gustave

b.1819 Ornans – d.1877 Vevey


COYPEL, Antoine

b.1661 Paris – d.1722


COYPEL (II), Noël-Nicolas

b.1690,92 Paris – d.1734



b.1682 Paris – d.1739



b.1617 Saint-Quentin – d.1665 Paris


FRAGONARD, Jean-Honoré

b.1732 Grasse – d.1806 Paris


HOUASSE, René Antoine

b.c1645 Paris – d.1710


INGRES, Jean-Auguste-Dominique

b.1780  Montauban – d.1867 Paris



Thus solely 4 of those 17 ‘canon’-artists belong to the ‘head’of the distribution and so they produced 13 Venus-artworks, or 0,8% of the whole variety of 2,252 works created by 0,3% of the 1,350 artists within the ‘head’. However 13 ‘canon’-artists belong to the ‘lengthy tail’, producing 569 works, or 26% of the whole variety of 2,159 works created by 5% of the 257 artists within the ‘lengthy tail’.

After all, this checklist – not solely partial with the given dataset – is subjective and artists of the 20thcentury are lacking. Raoul DUFY (b.1877 Le Havre – d.1953 Forcalquier) nor Fernandez, Armand Pierre, dit ARMAN (b.1928 Good – d.2005 New York) are referenced within the monograph, although well-known and with x = 31 and x = 98 artworks, respectively on this dataset.

For example, Narcisse-Virgile DIAZ DE LA PENA (b.1807 Bordeaux – d.1876 Menton) was very productive with x = 49 artworks in his lifetime, in different phrases he was actually profitable in the marketplace, however will not be acknowledged within the canon. There are various extra comparable examples simply extracted from the Index of artists of {the catalogue} v2.1.4 the place their variety of artworks is given.

The quantitative method on this train offers knowledge impartial of interpretation and provides a greater understanding of the relation between the historic canon and inventive productiveness. Artwork will not be the sum of the works of people generally known as the canon, however a ‘collective system’ the place ‘decrease’ artworks by a really giant share of all artists compose the head of the productiveness course of. The artwork historic canon resides primarily within the lengthy tail of the productiveness course of and represents solely a small share of all works.

This quantitative method could possibly be utilized to many different ‘gadgets’ or merchandise in giant datasets of thematic collections (portraits, landscapes, interiors, and so on…). Sadly, such collections don’t (but) exist, so far as the creator is aware of.


  1.  Bender Okay  ‘Distant Viewing in Art History. A Case Study of Artistic Productivity’  Worldwide Journal for Digital Artwork Historical past (DAH-Journal), Subject n° 1, June 2015: 100-110 

    2. Submit 104/ Historical past of a mission in progress (1): Statistical evaluation on the nominal degree

    3. Sanderhoff M (ed.) ‘Sharing is Caring – Openness and sharing in the cultural heritage sector ‘ Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. The supply of the graph in Fig.1 is

     4. See 4 posts on this Weblog Meta-Analysis in Digital Art History’ 

    A full transcription of all posts has been printed in

    5.     Egghe L ‘Energy legal guidelines within the info manufacturing course of: Lotkaian informetrics’. 

          Oxford: Elsevier. 2005.

    6. Ochoa X & Duval E ‘Quantitative Analysis of User-Generated Content on the Web’. WWW 2008, April 21–25, 2008

    7. Rodríguez-Ortega N ‘Multimodal Technologies and Interaction Canon, Value, and Cultural Heritage: New Processes of Assigning Value in the Postdigital Realm’Multimodal Applied sciences Work together, Might 11, 2018

    8. Mai E & Weber-Woelk U (eds.) (2000) ‘Faszination Venus; Bilder einer Göttin von Crancach bis Cabanel – Venus. Vergeten mythe. Voorstellingen van een godin van Cranach tot Cezanne.Snoeck-Ducaju, Gent.

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