The Rijksmuseum, located in the Netherlands, recently published the largest and most detailed image to date. The Dutch museum’s website now hosts a 717 gigapixel (717,000,000,000 pixels) rendition of Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ (1642). Part of the ‘Operation Night Watch,’ the name given to this gigapixel undertaking, is to restore parts of the masterpiece that have been damaged and preserve the artwork in incredible detail.
Starting in 2019, conservationists used a 100-megapixel Hasselblad H6D 400 MS-camera to create 8439 individual 5.5cm x 4.1cm photographs of the paintings, making the combined image over 4 meters in length and 3 meters in height. Images were stitched together using artificial intelligence (AI). The total file size of the image is 5.6 terabytes.
The museum also points out that the distance between 2 pixels on the image is 5 micrometers (0.0005 centimeters). This means that 1 pixel on the image is smaller than a human red blood cell. According to representatives from the museum, each photo has a depth of field of 125 micrometers (0.0125 centimeters). To ensure each image was properly in focus, the surface of the painting was scanned with lasers. Then the camera’s settings were adjusted for optimal image quality. After each image was captured, a neural network scanned it for color accuracy and sharpness.
The level of detail captured, coupled with the size of the file, makes it the largest image of a work of art ever captured. It’s 4 times larger than the original digitized version of ‘The Night Watch’ that was published on the museum’s website in May 2020, and that file was already 44.8 gigapixels. While the initial image was impressive impressive, experts can study the latest rendition even more closely as details are more defined.
The 2nd phase of ‘Operation Night Watch’ will commence on January 19th. The team will be able to examine this latest image and continue to restore the painting with increased accuracy thanks to this 717 gigapixel image. It can be viewed on the Rijksmuseum’s website.