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Drawing - Portrait 2011

Portrait 2011

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    25/11/2011 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tresset, Patrick (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink, pen and paper

  • Credit Line:

    Drawn by Paul, a robotic installation developed by Patrick Tresset

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case DA, shelf 1

This machine portrait was drawn by "Paul", a robotic installation developed by the French-born artist Patrick Tresset. In order to create artworks such as this one, a sheet of paper would be pinned onto to a wooden table that had a robotic arm and artist's pen attached to it. A small camera would look at the sitter, then the robotic hand would begin to sketch the portrait. The pen would pause from time to time and the robotic eye would move as if it was re-examining the sitter, then the robotic artist would continue with the drawing. Although the finished portrait might look similar to thousands of naive works created by human artists, the installation and the robotic production process are essential aspects of the performance and the artwork.

Patrick Tresset studied computer science in France, then moved to London to become a painter. He registered for an Msc then a PhD at Goldsmiths college and initiated and co-directed the Aikon project with Frederic Fol Leymarie. The main objective of the Aikon II investigation (2009-2012) was "to implement a computational system capable of simulating the various important processes involved in face sketching."

Tresset's computer drawings also refer to the work of a number of earlier artists whose works are in the V&A's collection. Harold Cohen, for example, developed the AARON program in order to explore the use of artificial intelligence in art-making, whilst Roman Verostko made extensive use of computer algorithms to create his unique pen plotter drawings.

Physical description

Portrait, pen and ink on paper

Place of Origin

London (made)


25/11/2011 (made)


Tresset, Patrick (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Ink, pen and paper

Descriptive line

Portrait drawn by "Paul", a robotic installation developed by Patrick Tresset

Production Note

The portrait was drawn by 'Paul', a robotic installation developed by the artist


Paper; Ink; Material


Computer drawing; Technique


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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