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Mauritshuis first gigapixel museum in the world

From today, as well as being able to visit the Mauritshuis in person, you can also experience it in a new lifelike virtual environment. The museum is the first in the world to have been fully digitised in gigapixel format*. By bringing this together with the Maurithuis’s existing Second Canvas app, the wonderful stories behind the paintings are also revealed and you can zoom in on the brushstrokes. No fewer than 36 masterpieces, including all the Vermeers, four Rembrandts, three Jan Steens, Fabritius’s Goldfinch and The Bull by Paulus Potter, can all be enjoyed in exquisite detail.

Second Canvas
The Second Canvas tour in gigapixel format makes the Mauritshuis accessible to everyone around the world. Wander through the rooms of the former city palace and explore the museum, right down to the smallest details. Let yourself be captivated by the paintings and discover details you have never seen before. The Mauritshuis is continually looking for ways to digitally unlock the collection’s stories. This virtual tour is a valuable addition to this, not only for our visitors who want to discover our museum from their homes, but also as a starting point for formats such as digital guided tours and educational activities.

The collaboration between the Mauritshuis and Madpixel** (the company behind Second Canvas) came about a number of years ago. After the Prado in Madrid, the Mauritshuis was the first museum in the world to launch a Second Canvas app in 2016 to make the collection more accessible from outside the museum. Today, the app is in use by more than 75 museums in 16 counties. Iñaki Arredondo, CEO of Madpixel, on the collaboration: ‘The Mauritshuis offers the perfect combination of the ability to move quickly, tremendous content and an openness to innovation’.

Gigapixel format
Paintings in gigapixel format are nothing new, but an entire museum digitised in gigapixel format is a world first. During the first lockdown of spring 2020, the images of the museum and its paintings were taken with 360-degree cameras. To create the high-quality, razor-sharp images, Madpixel took countless small images. Every centimetre, skirting board and wall hanging in the rooms was mapped by a digitisation robot, the Madpixel ROB. This robot selected the resolution required for every artwork: the larger the painting, the higher the resolution needed to be to ensure the optimum millimetre-level ‘zoom experience’. The results of the 360-degree gigapixel photography means that online visitors can see the Mauritshuis collection in extremely high resolution. And discover the smallest details.

Infrared images
A number of artworks also offer the option of switching between the photographic image and infrared images***. This allows visitors to swap between the different images and discover the changes that the artist made during the painting process. In the underdrawing for The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Rubens, for example, two dogs are visible that do not appear in the final painting.

Visitors can find the virtual museum on the Mauritshuis website or via the Mauritshuis Second Canvas app. The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.

*Gigapixel format is a gigapixel image of 1000 megapixels, more than 100 times the size of images that can be produced by a smartphone. Thanks to this high quality, a gigapixel image of an artwork offers a new experience of art.
** Madpixel is a technology company and maker of super high resolution (gigapixel) artwork digitisation technology. Second Canvas is the digital platform that combines gigapixel images of artworks with the stories that accompany the details in the paintings.
*** Infrared images reveal the painter’s original sketches that lie under the paint layers.

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