He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.
- Sonia Delaunay
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
- Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Da Vinci’s Last Supper, in high resolution servings

Posted by Charley Parker at 5:27 pm

Leonardo Da Vinci The Last Supper
OK all you conspiracy buffs and fans of The Da Vinci Code, here’s your chance to get all up close and personal with the master’s famous fresco from the comfort of your computer chair.

The folks at Haltadefinizione, who previously posted zoomable ultra-high resolution images of Gaudenzio Ferrari’s wonderfully intricate Vita di Cristo, and Andrea Pozzo’s amazing trompe l’oeil vault, Gloria di Sant’Ignazio, at 8.6 and 9.8 gigapixels respectively, have posted a new 16 (count ‘em!) gigapixel image of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

To give you some idea, that’s 1,600 times higher resolution than a typical 10 megapixel digital camera. You can get down to the level of examining individual chips of plaster if you want, but you’ll probably want to stay out at about 6-10% of the potential magnification just to be able to see recognizable parts of the image.

Actually, I find the hi-res version of Pozzo’s ceiling more rewarding to explore this way, flying in and out through his imaginary sky. The controls allow you to immediately turn off the inexplicable music, zoom and scroll, and even tuck the smaller preview window out of the way.

The da Vinci image is unfortunately watermarked, but it’s still fascinating to be able to see it up close. The curator points out: “You can see how Leonardo made the cups transparent, something you can’t ordinarily see.”

Intended to make examination of the painting possible for numerous scholars, particularly amid some controversy about Milan’s ability to protect the work, which has deteriorated seriously, from the city’s severe pollution problem, the image has been made available to the public, and you can zoom, scroll and examine to your heart’s content.

Leonardo reportedly used some experimental techniques in the painting, diverging from the traditional methods of fresco that have made it one of the most durable painting methods known to mankind, with unfortunate results.

For those interested in the pop-culture phenomenon of the Dan Brown’s book and the atrendant movie, you can zoom in on the figure to Christ’s right and see that it is pretty easy to interpret it as feminine. Also, if you print the image out on a vinyl disc and play it backwards on a phonograph, it says “I buried Paul…”.

[Link courtesy of Karl Kofoed]

11 comments for Da Vinci’s Last Supper, in high resolution servings »

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  1. Comment by Tice
    Sunday, October 28, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

    Interesting! In May I wrote an article abot that too:

  2. Comment by Dan van Benthuysen
    Sunday, October 28, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

    There’s a good reason the Pozzo is more fun to examine: Leonardo’s mural is in wretched condition — even after years of paint-chip-by-paint-chip restoration work. But the damage can’t all be blamed on pollution in Milan; Leonardo’s experiment with fresco painting was already deteriorating during his own lifetime.

    But from Vasari we have the observation that when the Last Supper was finished, “The texture of the very cloth on the table was rendered so cunningly that the linen itself could not look more realistic.” Today we can only imagine.

    This is nonetheless an amazing degree of reproduction. I’d love to see some other Italian frescoes this way. The Raphaels in the Vatican or the Sistine Chapel murals by Michelangelo, Botticelli, et al.

  3. Comment by AJ
    Wednesday, October 31, 2007 @ 9:47 am

    Does anyone know the song that plays on this? It’s wonderful.

  4. Comment by Charley Parker
    Wednesday, October 31, 2007 @ 10:10 am

    I don’t know this particular piece, but it sounds like a loose interpretation of Bach’s “Brandenberg Suite, Air on the G String”.

  5. Comment by Tony
    Saturday, February 2, 2008 @ 7:54 am

    I found this on a research site recently about mirror imaging and thought you would find it interesting, ( The method is one we define as “The intersecting, perpendicular mirror plane, image encryption process” ™. The final positions of the mirrors upon coming to rest, placed near the edges parallel and adjacent to a “line of planned intersection”™ in the paintings or drawings, when properly viewed, yield a series of constructed images. These constructed images become complete and exist only in the “mirrored plane of encryption”™, and only when the mirror plane is perfectly aligned parallel and precisely adjacent to the planned intersection line and perpendicular to the original plane of the artwork.

    One of the keys to the encryption process is in identifying the location, angle and position of the line of planned intersection. Without understanding the process by which the line is determined a viewer cannot place the mirror in the proper position to create the encryption plane and hence construct the hidden images. Determining how to locate the intersection lines is a tedious process, one that took 4 years of trial and error to understand and apply.

    It is his thinking outside the box and his inventive genius creating images outside the frame that is unique and that requires an understanding of the man’s thought processes in order to uncover.) The link is at: http://www.lionardofromvinci.com/Research.html

  6. Comment by Yrvwrial
    Saturday, July 5, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

    good job man

  7. Comment by nadir
    Friday, September 19, 2008 @ 8:59 am

    i want to know what is the name of the program that you zoomed the painting in it ??!!

  8. Comment by Charley Parker
    Friday, September 19, 2008 @ 10:50 am

    It looks to be a version of Zoomify: http://www.zoomify.com/

  9. Comment by Fbufgjcc
    Saturday, September 27, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

    Very funny pictures

  10. Comment by jen
    Thursday, October 21, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    this site is way cool but it would be even better if you couold really zoom in and take a clouser look at the paintings

  11. Comment by L Ariat
    Monday, July 16, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    Study the work , but not so closely! Everyone is seemingly predisposed to looking for hidden detail, but don’t fall into this mindset, as understanding this masterpiece requires one to examine what is OBVIOUS, but not to ordinary wisdom! GOD has apparently infused da Vinci’s mind to graphically describe what has been otherwise FORBIDDEN. Look to the characters themselves, their dress, the tapestry on the walls, the openings in the background, the PARALLEL lines, the 90 degree lines,the table, the foreground, the KNIFE, and mosr importantly, the WOMAN! The woman is the only female figure in the zodiac. and that is VIRGO, the virgin!The great Virgoan supercluster shows spectral blueshift; look at her colors, red and blue! Where else do you see red and blue?! Now, do you want to hear the rest of the story!? Probably not!!

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