Italian Project Photographs 28-Gigapixel-Images of Famous Paintings


The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. Top image: Zoomed all the way out. Bottom image: Zoomed all the way in on an eye. www.haltadefinizione.com_

Haltadefinizione or HAL9000 (Open the bay doors HAL), is an Italian project that undertakes the process of photographing extremely high-definition images of famous paintings and putting them online for everyone to see.

Works already available in their interactive online gallery-viewer include: Da Vinci’s Last Supper and Annunciation, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Verrocchio and Leonardo’s The Baptism of Christ, Gaudenzio Ferrari’s Life Stories of Christ, Pontormo’s Deposition, Agnolo Bronzino’s Elanor of Toledo, Francesco Paolo Michetti’s The Daughter of Iorio and Caravaggio’s Bacchus.

Earlier works that were photographed, like The Last Supper, consisted of 16 billion pixels, although some of the newly photographed works consist of a mind-blowing 28 billion pixels (which is technically less than half the pixels of the “world’s largest photo,” a 70-gigapixel image of Budapest). The images are made up of thousands of individual photographs taken with Nikon cameras (newer images were shot with D3X’s while older ones were shot with D2X’s).

The project’s Web site claims that the goal of taking such detailed images is to provide an experience that one could only previously get through viewing each respective painting in person—although with 28 billion pixels, one can zoom in on a painting (via the online gallery-viewer) to a point that previously could only be seen using a magnifying device.

Currently, Haltadefinizione is working to digitize an additional 24 paintings from the Ufizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

While we still highly recommend seeing these famous works of art in person if you have the chance, viewing them on Haltadefinizione’s site is a real treat. The detail that can be seen when zoomed all the way in is unbelievable.

For more information, check out Haltadefinizione’s site.