The Mauritshuis museum in Den Haag, Netherlands, whose collection includes Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring,' has become the world's first gigapixel museum, with super high-resolution scans of the whole collection available to everyone via smartphone or computer.
Except that with a smartphone you won't be able to take full advantage: At 1000 megapixels, they're 100 times sharper than your phone can display. While other museums have made similar scans of paintings, Mauritshuis is the first to have digitized its entire collection this way.
There's even a 360º tour of the building itself, inside and out, made by a robot. Using an app called Second Canvas, which includes texts and audio commentary, virtual visitors can see it all, including zoom options for 36 of the paintings, one of which includes tiny images of more than forty paintings. A few also have infrared options, enabling a look at what's below the surface.
The Mauritshuis's digital engagement manager, Sandra Verdel, told DutchNews that she sees the project as a complement, not a replacement, for live visits. According to Verdel, "We are not afraid that less people will go to the museum – we are convinced it’s the opposite: everyone will want to visit the museum after this tour. Nothing beats seeing a Vermeer in real life, when you are standing in front of it. But at the same time, this tour gives you the opportunity to discover our collection in a whole new way."