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A Gigapixel Scan of da Vinci’s The Last Supper Can Now Be Seen Online

Tech giant Google has recently made available online a high-resolution scan of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic artworks — The Last Supper. The high-resolution scan of the oil painting was made possible by a partnership between Google Arts & Culture and England’s Royal Academy of Arts. The scan can be viewed here.

Google applied its Art Camera to scan The Last Supper, and 19 other works from the Royal Academy, in “gigapixel” resolution, creating a final image with over one billion pixels. With the new scan, users can zoom into the image as if observing it from inches away, as artnet News reports.

The oil painting held by the Royal Academy, however, is not attributed mainly to da Vinci, but rather to his pupils Giampietrino and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, as the original quickly faded after it was completed, since Leonardo only painted it using egg tempera and oil paint on plaster. 

The painting has been a useful resource for scholars because it is about the same size as the original Leonardo, though it lacks the top third of the piece, and it hasn’t faded as severely with time. The students’ copy was even used as a reference when the original was restored between 1979 and 1999. Yet another copy, this one painted by Leonardo himself, was rediscovered in 2018 and likely created based on the same cartoon—a full-scale guide—as the mural.

Learn more about the copy of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, as well as its slight differences with the original, over at Smithsonian Magazine.

(Image Credit: Smithsonian Magazine)

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