Caravaggio’s Bacchus Seduces in Hi-Res Imagery

By Nicole Martinelli Tourists have long crowded in museums to admire Caravaggio’s Bacchus, but a new 3.4 billion-pixel image of the painting allows for an amazingly detailed look at an old master’s work from your computer screen.

It’s the first in a series of super-high-resolution digital versions of masterpieces from Italy’s Uffizi Gallery, including Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and the Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci.

This image of Bacchus makes Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s revolutionary realism — as seen in the gritty fingernails of his reclining model in the sensual painting nicknamed “drunk Bacchus” — easy to zoom in on and linger over.

Minute details usually mulled over by art historians, such as the rumored self-portrait of the artist reflected in the wine decanter, are just a few clicks away. The Tuesday launch is a kind of love letter to the Baroque bad boy, believed born on this day in 1571.

It’s the latest project from HAL9000, a company specializing in art photography that captured a high-res version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper three years ago.

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Italian Museum Says: Touch the Paintings, You Know You Want To

caption: caption: Hands on with a chubby Christ child. @centrica

Hands on with a chubby Christ child. @centrica

If you’ve ever stared at a painting and wanted to reach out and squeeze that adorable little putto, you’ll soon have a chance to do it without getting arrested.

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, one of the largest treasure troves of Renaissance art, is developing a touch-screen device that allows art lovers to zoom in for a more hands-on approach to the masterpieces.

caption: Italian art, Cover Flow style. @centrica

Italian art, Cover Flow style. @centrica

You can flip through centuries of art the same way you scroll through your albums on iTunes.

The program is called “Uffizi in a Touch” (sadly, a name not vetted by anyone who actually speaks English) developed by an Italian company called Centrica.

It took them four years to take life-size 100-megapixel photos that will be up for perusal in December for researchers and the more tactile groups of tourists.

No word yet on whether Apple will be after them for using the Cover Flow technology that’s been on the Cupertino company’s devices since 2006.