The microscope has been programmed to automatically focus on the painting and capture the images, then put everything together. Some regions of the painting were captured in even greater detail using the 3D capabilities of the microscope. For these, each pixel was equivalent to 1.1 microns, with several images of each region captured to create a topographic map, allowing experts to see differences in paint heights and other details.
“The Hirox software automatically moves the lens up and down with great precision, capturing a series of images at different focal lengths. [points] and combine them into a single fully focused image, ”Leonhardt said. “The motorized X / Y scene then moves to the next position, creating a high resolution panorama.”
In an area of the left eye, you can zoom in to see the pupil, then zoom in much further to see the light source reflected in that pupil as a few drops of paint. Another section shows two small dots of Vermeer paint added to add texture to the garment.
When switching to 3D mode, that same drop of paint on the pupil can be seen from the edge, revealing topographic details in the paint and cracks. You can explore other regions as well, including the subject’s mouth, clothing and, yes, those famous earrings. This type of detail is extremely valuable to curators as they can track the wear and tear of the painting and explore past restorations. Hirox has created a special site for analysis, and you can zoom and check in 3D here.