Journal of Imaging (Aug 2021)

Documenting Paintings with Gigapixel Photography

  • Pedro M. Cabezos-Bernal,
  • Pablo Rodriguez-Navarro,
  • Teresa Gil-Piqueras

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 156
p. 156


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Digital photographic capture of pictorial artworks with gigapixel resolution (around 1000 megapixels or greater) is a novel technique that is beginning to be used by some important international museums as a means of documentation, analysis, and dissemination of their masterpieces. This line of research is extremely interesting, not only for art curators and scholars but also for the general public. The results can be disseminated through online virtual museum displays, offering a detailed interactive visualization. These virtual visualizations allow the viewer to delve into the artwork in such a way that it is possible to zoom in and observe those details, which would be negligible to the naked eye in a real visit. Therefore, this kind of virtual visualization using gigapixel images has become an essential tool to enhance cultural heritage and to make it accessible to everyone. Since today’s professional digital cameras provide images of around 40 megapixels, obtaining gigapixel images requires some special capture and editing techniques. This article describes a series of photographic methodologies and equipment, developed by the team of researchers, that have been put into practice to achieve a very high level of detail and chromatic fidelity, in the documentation and dissemination of pictorial artworks. The result of this research work consisted in the gigapixel documentation of several masterpieces of the Museo de Bellas Artes of Valencia, one of the main art galleries in Spain. The results will be disseminated through the Internet, as will be shown with some examples.