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This article was published on May 13, 2020

Scientists used AI to make 44.8 gigapixel copy of historic Rembrandt painting

44,804,687,500 pixels in one image

Scientists used AI to make 44.8 gigapixel copy of historic Rembrandt painting

Each year, hundreds of thousands of art aficionados travel to Amsterdam to take a peek at Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. But now you can get intimately familiar with this historic painting — without even having to step foot in the Rijksmuseum.

A team of data scientists has made a 44.8 gigapixel digital copy of The Night Watch. The researchers created the ultra-detailed photograph of Rembrandt’s painting from a total of 528 exposures — or 24 rows of 22 pictures each. They then used the help of neural networks to digitally stitch together the images.

The result is 44,804,687,500 pixels — that’s 44 billion pixels if you’re getting puzzled by all these digits — of glory in one single image.

The Rijksmuseum, which funded the effort, says the photograph will make it easier for scientists to study the painting and track its ageing. It’ll also give art lovers yet another way of viewing the painting without having to travel all the way to Amsterdam.

The 44.8-gigapixel digitalization of Rembrandt’s legendary artwork is part of a larger effort to restore the painting — a process that was temporarily hampered by the coronavirus lockdown.

The Rijksmuseum has devoted a significant amount of time and resources to studying and re-working The Night Watch. Back in 2006, the museum collaborated with British visual artist Peter Greenaway to create an installation that superimposed digital imagery and lighting onto Rembrandt’s artwork to bring the painting to life.

You can check out the massive 44.8 digital copy of The Night Watch here.

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