'Girl with a Pearl Earring' Painting Gets an Incredibly Detailed 10-Billion-Pixel Scan

More detail than the human eye could ever see.

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The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, The Netherlands has unveiled a 10-billion pixel panorama of Johannes Vermeer’s iconic painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring following two years of research. Spearheaded by Emilien Leonhardt and Vincent Sabatier from Hirox Europe, the project was intended for the specialists to evaluate the surface condition of the work. It enabled the researchers to scan the piece with an astounding resolution at 4.4-microns per pixel detail, as per designboom.

The scan was developed last year by Hirox Europe — a company that specializes in creating digital microscopes. More precisely, the scan offered a resolution of 93,205 x 108,565 pixels which amounts to 10,118,800,825 microscopic images of the painting each taking over a section of just 4.4 microns in size. The scan provides a never-before-seen look at the painting with more detail than a pair of human eyes could visualize in person. Moreover, it also allows art historians and preservationists to better analyze the condition of the painting’s surface as well as the conditions of previous restorations.

Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring is now 355 years old. “It’s surprising how much high-quality ultramarine Vermeer used in the girl’s headscarf,” Mauritshuis conservator and project leader Abbie Vandivere explained in a statement. “This blue pigment was more valuable than gold in the 17th century.”

Visit Hirox Europe’s website to learn more about the groundbreaking 10-billion-pixel scan and get a closer look at the process in the video below. Elsewhere in art, Do Ho Such unveils new architectural fabric works as part of an online exhibition hosted by London’s Lehmann Maupin.

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