‘Last Supper’ travels on the internet at 16 billion pixels

Can’t get to Milan to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper?” Now all you need is an Internet connection. Officials put online an image of the “Last Supper” at 16 billion pixels _ 1,600 times stronger than the images taken with the typical 10 million pixel digital camera. The high resolution will allow experts to examine details of the 15th century wall painting’ Last Supper’ that they otherwise could not _ including traces of drawings Leonardo put down before painting. The high-resolution allows viewers to look at details as though they were inches from the art work, in contrast to regular photographs, which become grainy as you zoom in, said curator Alberto Artioli.”You can see how Leonardo made the cups transparent, something you can’t ordinarily see,” said Artioli. “You can also note the state of degradation the painting is in.”

Besides allowing experts and art-lovers to study the masterpiece from home, Artioli said the project provides an historical document of how the painting appears in 2007, which will be valuable to future generations of art historians. Even those who get to Milan have a hard time gaining admission to see the “Last Supper.” Visits have been made more difficult by measures to protect it. Twenty-five visitors are admitted every 15 minutes to see the painting for a total of about 320,000 visitors a year. Visitors must pass through a filtration system to help reduce the work’s exposure to dust and pollutants.

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