The Last Supper in 16 billion pixels close-up


The Last Supper, the most famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, has been posted on the internet as a very high resolution image that enables anyone to zoom in on minute details of the painting for close-up examination.

HAL9000 (love the name!), the company behind this project, says:

[…] The online visualisation system of the highest definition photograph ever in the world (16 billion pixels) will in fact let viewers enlarge and observe any portion of the painting, giving them a clear view of sections down to as little as one millimetre square.

Photography enthusiasts will undoubtedly understand the significance of using a Nikon D2Xs digital SLR camera and AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4D IF-ED telephoto lens to shoot the picture:

[…] The CMOS sensor of the D2Xs camera offers real-resolution images to 12.4 megapixels with practically null background noise even at intermediate ISO values capturing both the well lit details and the details in shadow without losing color fidelity thanks to its 12-bit effective depth of color; these features are very important in the composition of high definition images of works of art which contain barely perceptible and delicate nuances such as those created by the hand of Leonardo da Vinci in his Last Supper masterpiece.

The site hosting the digital image has a terrific video of setting up for the shoot, the substantial technology and many people involved, and taking the pictures.

I like the way they discreetly got in all the sponsors’ logos. Nifty product placement!

Also surprised the video’s not on YouTube. Yet.

See it all here –

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Chris Scafidi

    Can anyone tell me the name of the background music you hear while viewing to the high-definition image of The Last Supper? It sounds like an opera aria, but I have yet to find who the singer or composer is or the name of the piece.

  2. Gunnlaugur

    I am sorry to say; no. Knowing that I have heard it before (with instruments) but not being able to place it, I’m getting a bit obsessive about it. So if anyone has answered your question allready then please tell me the answer. I would be much obliged.

  3. Kevin Willis

    I don’t know for sure (haven’t investigated it yet) but saw elsewhere that the background music is this: “the Swingle Singers. … They’re the ones singing in the background: the second movement (Largo) from Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in F Minor, BWV 1056.”

  4. Jeff Palermo

    The piece is a Bach harpsichord concerto performed by an a Capella group. Can’t remember the catalog number off the top of my head.

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