Obscenely detailed scan lets you peer at Rembrandt’s Night Watch masterpiece online


The Rijksmuseum has launched what it claims is the “largest and most detailed {photograph} of any paintings,” and it’s viewable for free on its website. The scan is of Rembrandt van Rijn’s 1642 masterpiece The Night Watch, a roughly 12 by 14 foot portray which is presently the main focus of a large analysis and restoration challenge referred to as “Operation Night Watch.”

The technical particulars of the scan are staggering. In a press release, the Rijksmuseum explains that it’s made up of 8,439 particular person images taken with a 100 megapixel Hasselblad H6D 400 MS digital camera. Neural networks have been reportedly used to examine every picture for coloration and sharpness, and an AI system helped sew these pictures collectively right into a single picture.

The result’s a 717 gigapixel picture that’s 5.6 terabytes in dimension, the place every of its pixels exhibits an space simply 5 micrometers in dimension on the unique portray. The museum notes that it’s 4 occasions sharper than the final scan that was put out by the museum, which was solely 44.8 gigapixels huge, and the place every pixel represented a relatively huge 20 micrometers.


Picture: Rijksmuseum

The influence is just a little mind-boggling, permitting you to zoom in to see the cracks which have appeared within the particular person brush strokes of this masterpiece. Arguably it’s a good higher expertise than seeing the portray within the flesh, since this software program permits you to actually press your nostril up towards it in a approach that will get you thrown out of most museums.

If you’re keen to sacrifice a little bit of decision, then the web site additionally has an alternative version of The Night Watch with the lacking cropped sides restored. These sections have been stripped from the portray in 1715, permitting it to slot in a extra cramped location in Amsterdam’s Metropolis Corridor. These lacking segments have been restored final 12 months based mostly on a Seventeenth-century copy of the unique portray made by Gerrit Lundens. This work was additionally accomplished as a part of the identical Operation Night Watch challenge.

The Rijksmuseum’s press launch notes that this scan will assist with analysis of the portray, particularly remotely. It also needs to permit researchers to trace how the portray ages going ahead with extra accuracy. With the scan full, the museum notes that it now plans to mount The Night Watch onto a brand new stretcher to appropriate deformities within the canvas which have appeared, and that it’s going to think about different “conservation therapies.”

The excessive decision scan of The Night Watch is viewable here and the version with its missing sides is here. If that’s acquired you within the temper for wanting at extra high-resolution scans of basic artistic endeavors, take a look at this 10 gigapixel scan of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.