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Capturing a Moment in Time: Antonino Cosentino Documents Fine Art with Gigapixel Imaging

The Science of Art

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Guernica by Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo’s
David are among the most famous pieces of art in history. Invaluable, irreplaceable and inspirational, art of this type plays a critical role in cultures around the world and needs to be conserved for future generations.  

As a Cultural Heritage Artist and a PhD Physicist with a love for art, Antonino Cosentino has worked with a number of acclaimed museums to help preserve some of the greatest works of art in the world. With a goal of bringing scientific innovation into art conservation and examination, Antonino is focused on affordable scientific tools for the museums that cannot afford expensive instruments or hire a specialized scientist.

Necessity of GigaPan

The scientific approach to documenting and examining art requires high resolution imaging. Antonino selected the GigaPan EPIC Pro to create gigapixel images that could accurately capture each piece of art. “GigaPan is affordable and makes the documentation process much faster,” Antonino said. In a time of economic restraint, it is important to improve productivity for cultural institutions that are always underfunded. I also am currently running a start-up service for this; therefore, time and productivity matter more now than ever.”

Researchers and art historians are also able to benefit from these gigapixel multispectral images as the amount of detail they provide reveals a great deal of information on the materials and methods used by the painters. “GigaPan is really important for research. Being able to deliver fast scientific imaging documentation allows all the professionals involved to compare a large number of pieces of art,” Antonino said.

Additionally, Antonino is able to provide multispectral gigapixel images of artwork to his clients, which include museums, art appraisers, authentication experts and private collectors, to give them a detailed copy of their artwork and scientific imaging at high resolution. Museums and exhibits also use these high-definition images for printing in a larger format.

Gigapixel Images Answer the Tough Questions

It’s often difficult to document and then decipher basic details of a painting such as materials and painting techniques used and its actual condition . These questions can be answered with the gigapixel images created with GigaPan. 

For example, by observing the craquelure, the pattern of dense cracking formed on the surface, one can tell if the painting was on a panel or canvas. Gigapixel images reveal more details of the craquelure. Additionally working together with infrared imaging, gigapixel images increase the chances of detecting whether a thin brush or pencil was used in the artwork underdrawing.

Future of GigaPan and Masterpieces Everywhere

Due to its ability to quickly and easily document pieces of art, GigaPan is the ideal technology for museums that are looking to effectively and accurately capture artwork.

Antonino will continue to use and train professionals on GigaPan as he is commissioned by museums and institutions to document and examine their artwork. In fact, thanks to the interactive and high-definition images created by GigaPan technology the scientific imaging documentation industry will never be the same! “Indeed, GigaPan,” Antonino says, “can be used with any scientific imaging device other than photographic cameras, such as InGaAs cameras for infrared Reflectography and Thermal cameras for the investigation of Historical Architecture.”

To see how Antonino documented Madonna in Glory with Four Angels from the early 1900s using GigaPan see here.  More on his work on scientific art examination and GigaPan can be found on his educational blog “Cultural Heritage Science Open Source.”