Now you can admire the Van Eyck’s Mystic Lamb in 100 billion pixels
Share article:
Share article:

Now you can admire the Van Eyck’s Mystic Lamb in 100 billion pixels

A close-up of the Holy Lamb, from the Closer to Van Eyck website (link in text)

The celebrated masterpiece known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the 15th century Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck can be seen in the Saint-Bavo cathedral in Ghent, and in the new year in their new visitor centre.

But for those who just want to admire the altarpiece in microscopic detail from the comfort of their own home, there’s now the website Closer to Van Eyck, which allows anyone to get closer than any museum guard would allow – all the way up to a pixel view of the 100 billion pixel computer rendition.

The altarpiece consists of 12 painted panels when closed, showing an Annunciation and portraits of patrons, and another 12 on the inside when opened, showing a variety of scenes including God, the Virgin and John the Baptist, angels, Adam and Eve and a wide scene depicting the Holy Lamb (representing the sacrifice of Christ) being worshipped by a host of knights, hermits, pilgrims and judges.

The panel showing the judges was stolen in 1934 and never recovered. It has been replaced by a version finished in 1951 by the artist Jef Van der Veken.

The altarpiece has been restored many times over the centuries, and had become almost hidden under successive layers of varnish.

In 2010, a thorough examination was carried out using the latest methods, with the support of the Getty Foundation. That revealed that a complete restoration would be required, which started in 2012 for an initial period of five years, carried out by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels.

The exterior panels were returned to the cathedral in 2016, and work was started on the interior panels in 2017.

Each one of the panels has now, under the instruction of Professor Ron Spronk of Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, been subjected to macrophotography, infrared reflectography and X-radiography, to produce a computer rendition of the entire masterpiece, made up of no fewer than 100 billion pixels – or a resolution about 200,000 times greater than the image you see above.

The images, Prof. Spronk said, cover everything “from the restoration reports to infrared images. The website is also very special, as people can decide for themselves how deeply they dive into the matter and really play with all the visual material, compare and contrast. The site can be used for scientific research or for education, but visitors can also simply marvel at the beautiful details.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...