The world’s largest photo of a work of art is here, and there’s a dog in it

By AP Staff

It’s a very good painting, yes it is

night watch gigapixel

Advances in imaging have meant new ways of studying the solar system, improving athletic performance, and interacting with art. Ultra-high-resolution photos (any image exceeding 400 megapixels) have emerged as a way to allow a deeper examination of priceless works without damaging the original artifact. And now the largest, most comprehensive photograph of a work of art has arrived from Operation Night Watch.


Close-ups of the painting have revealed unlocked fascinating information about the Dutch master’s technique. AI mapping revealed that Rembrant originally sketched details on the canvas, such as helmet decorations that are not visible in the final painting. And the new technology shed light on a chalk sketch of a dog using a technique not seen in other Rembrant works.


The project, which aims to examine and preserve the Rembrant painting “The Night Watch” from 1642, has put together several smaller photographs to create an image of 717 gigapixels. If you count individual pixels, it’s 717,000,000,000,000 of them, all with a distance of 5 micrometers. To put that smallness into perspective, a pixel measures less than a red blood cell.

Screenshot 2022-01-12 171615

A 100-megapixel Hasselblad camera captured the smaller images, and AI stepped in to smooth the seams out while they were put together. Clear some hard disk space if you would like to download this sucker – the file size is 5.6 terabytes.

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