The Next Rembrandt - Is AI Intelligent or Not

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“The next Rembrandt” is a Rembrandt style painting produced by AI that was trained to paint like Rembrandt and had the task to develop a new Rembrandt painting, iterating what motive Rembrandt would have most expectably painted. The example of this painting prompts a discussion of the concept of human creativity and intelligence. What is the human creative contribution to art, what is artificial or artistic intelligence?

Machines creating Rembrandt-style art?

Painting The Next Rembrandt. Source and Copyright: The Next Rembrandt

“New Scientist has raised an important philosophical point with regard to simulation works such as The Next Rembrandt and its kin: ‘if it is so easy to break down the style of some of the world’s most original composers into computer code, that means some of the best human artists are more machine-like than we would like to think’ (2017). A similar line of thinking has been offered by philosopher of technology Vilém Flusser, who argues that humans in the industrial society exist in a close-knit relationship with their apparatuses, which are more than old-style tools such as hammers, scythes or paintbrushes that operate on matter. Instead, contemporary apparatuses consist of machines, the software they run on as well as their wider infrastructures, with their multi-level operations enacting symbolic as much as material transformations.”

Joanna Zylinska, 2020, AI Art- Machine Vision and warped Dreams p.52


  • Exploring the impact of AI on creative practice and art; deepening understanding of the concept of creative competence.


1. Watch a small movie on YouTube about the development of the next Rembrandt (5 minutes)

2. Research articles or other resources which discuss the project and the topic of art and AI. Resources such as or may help igniting further thinking. (30 minutes)

3. Discussion (depending on group size, either in a plenary setting or smaller groups) (20 minutes):

  • What are the main points discussed regarding The Next Rembrandt?
  • What underlying ideas about creativity, arts mastery, artistic oeuvre and intelligence are discussed?
  • Who is the author of the painting?
  • Did you find related projects?
  • What aspects of creative competence does The Next Rembrandt cover and which not?


  • While the standard argument of an arts-oriented audience usually points out the characteristic missing white nose of the painting which would make it indeed a Rembrandt, there are various cultural sociological voices that stress the scholarly process of production (studying, iterating, developing own mastery) as such, which prove that the painting is in fact AI-produced.
  • In a similar way, the emotional reaction of the arts community to this painting, also points to the ability of AI to evoke an emotional response.
  • What else, in your opinion, are valid key arguments or insights found in your research?
  • What other roles might AI play in the arts sector?

(20-30 minutes)


Georg Pirker

Person responsible for international relations at the Association of German Educational Organizations (AdB), president of DARE network.


Exploring creativity: Introduce a traditional definition of creativity after the initial discussion. For instance: Creativity is an ability that helps us process the wealth of information that our minds collect and forge connections between different pieces of information in order to find a solution to a problem in a new way, or to come to a new understanding of the problem itself. It is necessary to co-create and adopt to social change (Competendo, 2018, p.10ff.).

  • Discuss to what extent The Next Rembrandt was a creative process.
  • What elements were included and excluded in its process?
  • As a concluding thought, we should question what the human domain in creative processes supported by AI is and should be.

Time 60 minutes

Material Standard, Movie

Group Size 3-30 people

Keywords AI, creativity, art, machine learning, anthropocentrism




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