Gaze in wonder at this astonishingly high-res scan of an iconic painting

For the previous hour, I’ve been avoiding work by looking this amazingly high-resolution scan of Johannes Vermeer’s iconic Woman with a Pearl Earring. With a complete decision of 93,205 x 108,565, PetaPixel notes the scan is believed to be the primary 10 billion pixel panorama ever created, permitting you to zoom in shut sufficient to show the tiniest flecks of paint into puddles and minuscule cracks into crevasses. The scan seems to have been posted on-line early last year.

Like quite a lot of museums proper now, the Mauritshuis gallery, which usually homes the work, is at present closed due to COVID restrictions. However in the interim, this scan is a pleasant alternative. In some methods, it’s really higher, letting you press your digital nostril up towards the portray in a method that’d get you thrown out of most artwork galleries or scolded by an irate assistant on the very least.

The scan is the work of Hirox’s Emilien Leonhardt and Vincent Sabatier, who photographed the portray utilizing a high-resolution microscope again in March 2018. Scanning the portray concerned taking round 9,100 images of it utilizing a high-resolution microscope earlier than stitching them collectively. The ensuing scan allowed the staff to evaluate its situation, be taught extra about Vermeer’s portray approach, and perceive previous restorations of the work. You may be taught extra concerning the scanning course of within the quick video Hirox printed under:

The 2D picture is one factor, however the place issues get particularly attention-grabbing is with the 3D scans, which cowl 10 particular areas of the portray like the topic’s eyes and iconic earring. These scans allow you to peer at sections of the portray from any angle and see that its obvious flat floor is something however, due to the layers of dried paint that make up the portray. There’s even a small digital mild you possibly can drag round inside this system to see how these floor imperfections forged a shadow over their surrounding space.

To be taught extra about what these scans and different technical analysis present about this portray, try this blog post from the Mauritshuis final 12 months. In the meantime, the rest of the museum has also been digitized, with 36 masterpieces out there to view intimately.

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