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Mega-pixel Last Supper on the Web October 28, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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A high-resolution image of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” has been posted on the Web, allowing art lovers and conspiracy theorists alike to scrutinize details of the 15th Century masterpiece from their computers.

An Italian digital imaging firm posted the image at an incredible 16-billion pixel on its Website www.haltadefinizione.com today. The image is 1,600 times stronger than those taken with a typical 10 million pixel digital camera.

Experts will be able to see segments as though just centimetres away and examine details otherwise unavailable. The new Web resolution avoided the graininess when zooming in to regular photographs.

templar-last_supper-webjpg.jpg

The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo da Vinci some 500 years ago. Because of the experimental techniques he used, parts of the work subsequently peeled off and were badly damaged. More than 350,000 people each year visit the painting located in a former monks’ dining hall adjacent to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

The posting comes amid Italian news reports that a sophisticated monitoring and filtration system did not protect the painting from Milan’s pollution or filter substances that could damage the work being brought in by visitors. Milan’s cultural commissioner said the threat was non-existent.

The mural depicts Jesus Christ when he predicts that one of his apostles will betray him. Since the publication of Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code”, theories have abounded about the true meaning of the mural.

The picture below shows the hands of the person sitting next to Jesus in the Last Supper, the individual said to be Mary Magdalene in “The Da Vinci Code,” at only a 6% zoom. Conspiracy theorists would discern what looks like a wedding ring on the left middle finger.

last-supper-hands1.jpg

The latest theory by Slavisa Pesci led Web sites linked to the mural to crash. Pesci said the superimposition of the mural with its mirror-image threw up another image containing a figure looking like a Templar knight and another holding a small baby. See my post New Da Vinci Theories Crash Websites.

Today’s posting of the Last Supper is meant as an innovative way to use the Web to appreciate art rather than encourage speculation about its meaning. So many tourists visiting Milan want to see it that they often have to make reservations at least a month in advance.

Da Vinci’s masterpiece joins a large and growing population of virtual, immersive and interactive art.

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