'The Last Supper' at 16 Billion Pixels

Dennis Faas's picture

Have a taste for the fine arts? Want to see the famous paintings and sculptures of the world? As of last week, all you need is an Internet connection.

That's because Milan officials have successfully uploaded the image of Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" at 16 billion pixels, 1,600 times stronger than if the picture was taken with a typical 10 million pixel digital camera.

The higher resolution will allow experts to inspect certain aspects of the 15th century wall painting that would otherwise have gone unnoticed by the casual observer, including traces of the original drawings Leonardo Da Vinci put down before creating his masterpiece. (Source: usatoday.com)

The high resolution image allows viewers to zoom in and carefully examine the details of the portrait as though they were inches from the actual painting. In contrast, digital cameras often distort the image the closer you zoom in. Analysts are already finding hidden gems in the art work. The high resolution image allows viewers to see one of the drawing strategies Leonardo Da Vinci used to make the cups on the table appear transparent, which would never have been seen by the naked eye. Viewers can also see the state of degradation the painting is currently in. (Source: azcentral.com)

In addition to giving art-lovers an opportunity to study the portrait from home, analysts believe that the image will one day serve as a historical document, providing an insight into how it appeared in 2007.

The masterpiece endured a painstaking restoration effort in 1999 that sought to correct centuries of damage. Leonardo Da Vinci originally created "The Last Supper" without cleaving the surface in fresco style, meaning that the portrait is more delicate and subject to wear.

The higher resolution image is becoming a viable option for many art aficionados, especially since gaining admission to see the actual painting in Milan is so difficult. On average, 25 visitors are admitted every 15 minutes to see the painting and are rapidly shifted along in quick succession. Since the restoration, visitors now must pass through a filtration system to help reduce exposure to dust and pollutants. (Source: usatoday.com)

More than 320,000 art lovers come every year to see "The Last Supper" in Milan.

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