Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring at 10 billion pixels!

I heard about and saw the following video about something absolutely amazing – taking a significant art historical masterpiece, Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” (from 1665), and making a 10 billion pixel scan of it! And not just that, but Hirox Europe, a company that has created a 3-D Digital Microscope, has used this massive scan of Vermeer’s masterpiece to create a series of interactive online features … more on this after the video:

The goal of the scan was to learn about Vermeer’s painting technique, to evaluate the surface condition, measure cracks, to look at the topography of various key areas, and to assess previous restorations. The thing that blows my mind is that in order to “scan” this painting, what was really happening was that Hirox’s machine was taking approximately 91,000 individual photographs and then using their own proprietary software to stitch all those shots into one massive image. I’m kind of amazed that the Mauritshuis Museum allowed this priceless masterpiece to be blasted with light as seen in the video, but according to Hirox, this 3-D Digital Microscope is “easy, fast, and non-destructive.” Check out all of the various uses that Hirox has for this microscope here, including biology, agriculture, forensics, medical, aerospace, and more, in addition to art and restoration.

So what about the various apps tied to this project? Check these out!

See the whole painting here, and then zoom in on any particular section, allowing you to get a view at 140 times the actual size!

A really wild “3-D viewer” which allows you to load different parts of the painting and then use your mouse to move, rotate, and spin around these “parts” to see them like a topological map from different angles and viewpoints!

I hope Hirox is able to get access to more paintings and share them in the same way, this is quite amazing!

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