Since the moment when researcher Tim Zaman began to duplicate famous paintings with remarkable detail, it was only a matter of time until photographic scanning systems and 3D printing began aping beautiful art.
As systems are capable digitizing high-resolution images of a masterpiece and recording 3D information in precise detail, the subtleties of brush work and the texture of the paint used can now be turned into 3D models.
Now 3D scanners can essentially reverse engineer the works of the masters – in pixel-perfect detail – to render them nearly indistinguishable from the genuine article. A reproduction of the original work can then be 3D printed with photopolymer inks on natural canvas.
The result of all this technology? For $200, a Russian startup called Prixel will provide you with a very, very representative version of a Van Gogh of immeasurable worth. Prixel's technology can preserve even the smallest brushstrokes. Prixel offers a fine replica of paintings by Van Gogh from the Museum of Modern Art in NY.
Wide-format, ultraviolet printers can output the tiniest nuances of brushstroke and specific details of paint color and luminosity. Printed in five to six layers (or 20 or more layers for heightened accuracy and detail for a little more money), Starry Night could be the next addition to your home decor.
Fuji currently offers a similar technology, but the cost of each painting can reach $33,000 using their museum-quality process.
"A regular reproduction of a Van Gogh painting, of course, conveys the mood of the painting and a general impression of the artwork, but without reproducing the contours of the forms taken by the strokes of the artist's brush, the uniqueness of his technique is lost," said the owner of Prixel, Lyubov Cherevan.
Cherevan says the heavy, thick strokes of paint Van Gogh is renowned for remain completely intact in a Prixel version and that the technology allows for the complete transfer of this texture. But the real breakthrough is in how Prixel succeeded in reducing the cost-per-print some 500 times, improving the company's technology. Now the creation of a 16×20 inch picture costs just $40.
And the process seems to appeal to investors as well. According to the company, Prixel is currently closing a deal for seed investment – $300,000 from a consortium of investors from St. Petersburg and Russian startup accelerator iDealMachine.
Prixel says they also hope to complete negotiations with the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg which would allow them to put five of their models in the museum's on-site store.