The Last Supper at 16 billion pixels

The problem with the true classics of art these days is that it’s very difficult to get up close to them. The Mona Lisa, for example, is protected by bulletproof glass, a red velvet rope, and at least one guard stationed within arm’s length. Good luck getting close enough to inspect the brush strokes on that little lady!

The Last Supper, perhaps the second most famous painting on our planet is equally difficult to inspect closely.

Until now that is. Last weekend the da Vinci masterpiece was unveiled digitally at an astounding resolution of 16 billion pixels. Wow. Internet users can zoom in to the most minute detail, inspecting every fleck of paint, aged crack, and bits of weathering and damage.

Frankly, it’s a little disturbing just how much the painting has deteriorated over the last 500 years. It still, however, maintains its magic even when one zooms in so far that you no longer know what you’re looking at. And for many, this will be the best viewing they will ever have of the painting. According to a recent AP article, only 25 visitors are allowed to view the painting at a time. This equates to roughly 320,000 people per year. That’s a pretty low number. As for me, I’m content right now just zooming in online. Click here to do so yourself.