Da Vinci's The Last Supper Up Close at Home
Officials put online an image of the "Last Supper" at 16 billion pixels — 1,600 times stronger than the images taken with the typical 10 million pixel digital camera.Other excerpts:
The high resolution will allow experts to examine details of the 15th century wall painting that they otherwise could not — including traces of drawings Leonardo put down before painting. The high-resolution allows viewers to look at details as though they were inches from the art work, in contrast to regular photographs, which become grainy as you zoom in, said curator Alberto Artioli.
The work, in Milan's Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, was restored in a painstaking effort that wrapped up in 1999 — a project aimed at reversing half a millennium of damage to the famed artwork. Leonard painted the "Last Supper" dry, so the painting did not cleave to the surface in the fresco style, meaning it is more delicate and subject to wear.
Even those who get to Milan have a hard time gaining admission to see the "Last Supper." Visits have been made more difficult by measures to protect it. Twenty-five visitors are admitted every 15 minutes to see the painting for a total of about 320,000 visitors a year. Visitors must pass through a filtration system to help reduce the work's exposure to dust and pollutants.