Applied Physics A

, Volume 119, Issue 4, pp 1567–1575 | Cite as

Automatic registration and mosaicking of technical images of Old Master paintings

  • Damon M. Conover
  • John K. DelaneyEmail author
  • Murray H. LoewEmail author


The registration of technical art conservation images of Old Master paintings presents unique challenges. Specifically, X-radiographs and reflective infrared (1000–2500 nm) images reveal shifted, or new, compositional elements not visible on the surface of artworks. Here, we describe a new multimodal registration and mosaicking algorithm that is capable of providing accurate alignment of a variety of types of images, such as the registration of multispectral reflective infrared images, X-radiographs, hyperspectral image cubes, and X-ray fluorescence image cubes to reference color images taken at high spatial sampling (300–500 pixels per inch), even when content differences are present, and a validation study has been performed to quantify the algorithm’s accuracy. Key to the algorithm’s success is the use of subsets of wavelet images to select control points and a novel method for filtering candidate control-point pairs. The algorithm has been used to register more than 100 paintings at the National Gallery of Art, D.C. and The Art Institute of Chicago. Many of the resulting registered datasets have been published in online catalogues, providing scholars additional information to further their understanding of the paintings and the working methods of the artists who painted them.


Color Image Fiducial Marker Template Image Bicubic Interpolation Image Cube 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation (award 1041827). J.K.D. and D.M.C. acknowledge funding from the Andrew W. Mellon and Samuel H. Kress Foundations, and D.M.C. acknowledges funding from the ARCS Foundation. The authors are grateful to Kimberly Schenk, Elizabeth Walmsley, Catherine Metzger, Melanie Gifford, Barbara Berrie, and Mervin Richards of the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), and Kelly Keegan of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (AVI 24832 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (AVI 12604 kb)

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Supplementary material 3 (AVI 14494 kb)

Supplementary material 4 (AVI 31204 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Scientific ResearchNational Gallery of ArtWashingtonUSA

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