We are delighted to announce the publication of new ultra-high resolution images of the Linder Gallery, which have been shot by art photographer Tim Nighswander of www.imaging4art.com and allow the painting to be seen in even more minute detail.
Here’s Tim’s description of how he created the new images, which I hope you’ll agree, are spectacular:
The camera used to take the image was a Hasselblad H2d with a 39 mega pixel multi-shot back. The multi-shot shoots five separate times for each exposure with the color filter array shifting one pixel each time (one preview and then Red, Green 1, Green 2, Blue). Since each pixel has all the color data the processing does not require an algorithm to interpolate the missing information. This results in not only better color fidelity but also a significant improvement in clarity and detail. The lighting was with studio strobes with polarization on both the lights and on the camera lens to keep any reflection off the surface of the painting to a minimum.
Even though the camera captures a very large image with each exposure (about 250 MB) we soon realized that to get the detail we wanted it would require stitching together multiple images. Ultimately the painting was shot in a grid of 20 images (five across and four down). The biggest challenge was the precise movement and alignment of the camera for each shot. The use of a heavy duty studio camera stand made it possible to shift the camera with the degree of accuracy needed (though getting the studio stand, and all the other equipment, into the residence proved to be challenge in itself). The raw files were converted to TIFF and then assembled using a stitching software. The program gets the final image close but I have found that there is still a lot of minor tweaking, alignment and adjustment needed to have all the pieces fit perfectly. Also, in spite of the polarization, with such high magnification any flaws or dirt in the varnish are very apparent and I spent quite a bit of time in Photoshop digitally “cleaning” the painting. The painstaking work paid off with the resulting final image measuring 24,000 x 16,300 pixels (a 3 gigabyte file). At screen resolution that is like looking at an image 27 feet wide by 18 feet high. As my wife Diane pointed out, that is as if you were viewing a life size version of the actual gallery!
The one thing I find most amazing is the degree of detail that can be seen even with such extreme enlargement. Clearly, nothing depicted in the painting is there without careful consideration and everything must be considered a clue to its meaning.
Having spent the time going over the image in great detail, there are a few observations that we hope you find interesting. These may all be ground that has already been covered and, if so, please forgive our novice enthusiasm. If, on the other hand, we have uncovered some previously un-noticed clues we will have all been rewarded.
The perspective of the central tabletop does not match the rest of the painting – it appears to be tilted forward compared to the rest of the surfaces. This may have just been “cheating” perspective as a way to more easily show all of the objects, but it is curious. This follows through to the medallions which are almost perfectly round (ie: viewed as if seen straight down).
Of all the paintings shown in the gallery (I count 30), just a few have curtains that can be drawn to cover them – most notably the Triumph of Bacchus and Apelles Painting Campaspe. There are curtains flanking Perseus with the Head of Medusa and The Death of Lucretia but no drawstring is depicted so they may or may not close. Using curtains in a gallery may have been common practice but was it done to protect more valuable paintings or to hide them from view depending on the company? Either way it seems to indicate special importance to those particular paintings.
The clocks on each of the two side tables are set to 8:10. Could it be that the overall painting refers to an astronomical or historical event and a very specific moment in time – such as a birth or death which might have caused the “death” of the central female figure (Diane and I believe that her skin color indicates she is dead – not just resting…). Can any of the other instruments depicted be read to define a specific date – not just a time of day? For example, is the Celestial globe set to a particular and discernible day or can something more specific be read in the astrological chart?
In the dark corner by the Perpetuum mobile is a kneeling nude male figure (you will see this better in the enhanced image). This does not appear to be a statue – if it were it would be on a base or pedestal – without a base it would be too top heavy to support itself in this position. If that is the case, then this would introduce a third living (or recently deceased) person into the gallery. Could it relate to the door being ajar? Is he hiding or kneeling before and paying homage to Drebbel’s machine?
Finally, in the double portrait the patron (Linder) and the artist have in front of them a perspective sketch of the final painting but from their point of view it is upside down. It is less like they were studying it and rather more like they are presenting it to us (and Diane notes that even their gaze is outward rather than at each other or the drawing). Not only that, but the patron is pointing with his index finger to a very specific spot in the composition. If you look in that location in the finished painting it is the bookshelf with the book by Euclid. In the enhanced image I am sending you can read some of the other titles which may be telling. Do any of those titles have meaning or could there be a clue that is cryptographic (perhaps an anagram)?
I will be very interested to hear of any new insights into the painting that may result from the new image. You can also assure my fellow fans of Lost that I have seen the painting and it is real!