If you’ve ever dreamed of having more than just a print of a famous Rembrandt or Van Gogh painting in your living room, you may soon have a chance- and you won’t even have to win the lottery! 3-D scanning and printing technology has reached a point that it can reproduce some of the most beautiful classical paintings down to every last brush stroke. Dutch researcher Tim Zaman has developed an innovative 3D photographic scanning system and has been working with Kröller-Müller and Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands to capture some of their fine art in 3-D space. The scanning has revealed some amazing secrets, such as the movement of the original placement of one of the men in Rembrandt’s 1662 portrait of the Drapers’ Guild. Teaming up with Canon’s Océ Group, some of Zaman’s scans have been 3d printed, creating an identical copy of these classic works!
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Looking over a 3d scan of Van Gogh’s flowers is like flying over new terrain in a helicopter and this new technology may allow people to get up close and personal with paintings that before were kept in controlled conditions at a distance. The coming of this technology has been predicted for nearly a century. In his 1936 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, cultural critic Walter Benjamin states, “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” He goes on further to discuss the idea of the aura of the original artist that can never be replicated on a new rendering.
Learn more about Tim Zaman’s process on his website.