Thanks to a grant from the Getty Foundation you can now see intricate, breathtaking details of one of the most important works of art in the world, thanks to a newly completed website focused on the Ghent Altarpiece. A stunning and highly complex painting composed of separate oak panels, The Mystic Lamb of 1432 by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, known as the Ghent Altarpiece, recently underwent much-needed emergency conservation within the Villa Chapel in St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. As part of this work, the altarpiece was removed from its glass enclosure and temporarily dismantled—a rare event which also made it possible to undertake a comprehensive examination and documentation, supported by the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles. Each centimeter of the altarpiece was scrutinized and professionally photographed at extremely high resolution in both regular and infrared light. The photographs were then digitally “stitched” together to create highly detailed images which allow for study of the painting at unprecedented microscopic levels. The website itself contains 100 billion pixels. Led by Ron Spronk, a Professor of Art History at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, the website is a collaborative project of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK/IRPA), Lukasweb, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, and is funded through support from the Getty Foundation and with support from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, or NWO). Spronk says, We deliberately chose an open-source approach to the images, with the hope that it will spur more projects using interactive, high-resolution imaging techniques for the technical study of works of art.”
Because this is huge, it is not lightening fast, but it will make you gasp! Click here to get up close to Van Eyck.