Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Closer I Am to Van Eyck
February 26, 2012 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Closer to Van Eyck is an ultra-high-resolution look at one of the greatest masterpieces of Flemish painting, the Ghent Altarpiece (previously) an astounding 100 billion pixels in size. Stolen, with permission, from peacay's Twitter stream.
posted by Horace Rumpole (16 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want to scan you like an animal
I want to zoom in on you from the inside
I want to scan you like an animal
All your details are revealed
You get me closer to Van Eyck
posted by hippybear at 6:52 AM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


That is stunning. Anyone who is interested in this will also find the Google Art Project a really fun sandbox. Google teamed up a while ago with a number of the world's leading art museums to provide zoomable scans of parts of their collections.
posted by yoink at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is just unreal. Both the scale and detail of the original work, and the unbelievable quality and resolution of the scan. It's the first time that I've felt like a digital presentation provides a superior experience to seeing a piece in person.

Google Art Project is nice, but it's entirely cursory compared to this. This is enough data to completely reconstruct the work.
posted by phooky at 7:25 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can see all the individual strands of hair on the angel playing the organ.

Wow.
posted by Trurl at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2012


Google Art Project is nice, but it's entirely cursory compared to this.

Well, you're certainly not getting the infrared and the x-ray and so forth with the Google Art Project, but some of the museums allowed very, very high resolution scans. You can zoom in closer at the Van Gogh's Museum, for example, than you can on the Van Eyck. You really can study the Van Goghs brushstroke by brushstroke.

It's the first time that I've felt like a digital presentation provides a superior experience to seeing a piece in person.

Well, it's certainly better than seeing the Ghent altarpiece in the flesh since 1986 when they put it behind thick, greenish bulletproof glass. The same Getty restoration team whose work has lead to this amazing zoomable scan are also working on improving its display conditions I believe.
posted by yoink at 7:47 AM on February 26, 2012


Infrared photgraphy of paintings is great because it can reveal details of the artist's process. Notice how the eyes of the angels are different in the visible-spectrum and the near-IR? That's because they were originally painted the way they appear on the right, and then the Eycks decided they didn't like the look and re-painted them.
posted by clarknova at 8:22 AM on February 26, 2012


I have been near that cathedral. In fact, I have a pretty neat photo of that cathedral. If I had known about that painting I would have spent more time at that cathedral.
posted by zrail at 9:38 AM on February 26, 2012


Awesome! Wanted to see this in detail since the New Yorker article on the altarpiece a while back.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:58 AM on February 26, 2012


> You can see all the individual strands of hair on the angel playing the organ.

Also a very great deal here to be learned about painting eyeballs and blades of grass in the Vroege Nederlandse manner, for those in the mood to stea Ah means Learn From The Masters. Thanks very much for the link! (Plus also thanks to peacay, whose site has steered me to just immense amounts of wonderful and high res graphic stuff since I first saw bibliodyssey linked here.)

PS, OMG the craquelure. Shit you don't want to meet lives down in there!


> This website, based upon contemporary web standards, may not be compatible with your browser.

No need to be snotty, universumdigitalis, noscript is certainly a contemporary web standard. And becoming more of one with every new scripting exploit that pops up. (And just so you'll know, Adobe, Steve Jobs is hard at work destroying Flash from beyond the grave. You go, Stevie.)
posted by jfuller at 10:01 AM on February 26, 2012


No need to be snotty, universumdigitalis, noscript is certainly a contemporary web standard. And becoming more of one with every new scripting exploit that pops up. (And just so you'll know, Adobe, Steve Jobs is hard at work destroying Flash from beyond the grave. You go, Stevie.)

There aren't any Flash or Java elements in that site. It's all pure, clean jQuery-powered Javascript. Even Metafilter uses, albiet not as heavily.

What they've done is actually quite elegant.

You may love NoScript. Your friends may love it. It gives you more control over your browser and that's always a good thing. But if you think it's some kind of standard, and that you're ever going to have complex web functionality while blocking everything but XHTML, you're going to be facing disappointments like this for the rest of your life. You may as well uninstall whatever Mozilla browser you're using and get yourself a copy of Lynx.

And for the record, Apple only stopped supporting flash because it didn't run well on their mobile devices, and because Apple doesn't own it. And they're now supporting it anyway.
posted by clarknova at 10:31 AM on February 26, 2012


> that you're ever going to have complex web functionality while blocking everything but XHTML

Temporarily allow universumdigitalis.com.

90% of complex web functionality is ads and tracking. "To enjoy the complete user experience, please enable javascript" == "Our ads, let us show you them. Oh, and let us track you all to Hell'n'gone."
posted by jfuller at 11:04 AM on February 26, 2012


More like 10%. You can also counter that stuff neatly using AdBlock & Ghostery, without turning off Javascript everywhere. Imagining script-free sites are rapidly becoming the web standard is like my Mennonite grandfather fantasizing about rivers of black buggies being the future of freeway traffic.

I don't even know why you got annoyed at this particular site. They're not serving a single ad, and thinking that you're going to get a multi-scale, hi-res image viewer without js or flash is, honestly, ludicrous.
posted by clarknova at 11:54 AM on February 26, 2012


thinking that you're going to get a multi-scale, hi-res image viewer without js or flash is, honestly, ludicrous.

Hey, there's always Quicksilver...
posted by hippybear at 12:08 PM on February 26, 2012


Does anybody know why the lamb has so many ears?
posted by spasm at 12:11 PM on February 26, 2012


Oh, and let us track you all to Hell'n'gone.

not while I'm wearing my neat new tinfoil hat
posted by mattoxic at 1:39 PM on February 26, 2012


Holee shit. Thanks, OP!
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:35 PM on February 26, 2012


« Older Circuli...   |   Charles Forsman (previously) h... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments