Behold, the most incredibly detailed photo of a classic painting ever

A close up of the painting Night Watch, Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq by Rembrandt
(Image credit: RijksMuseum)

With the past couple of years we have all had, it's been difficult to get out into the world and explore some of your favourite galleries and exhibitions. But fear not, as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam might have the answer to our prayers.

The museum has photographed one of Rembrandt's paintings in such high detail that you can now explore it as if you were standing in the gallery looking at the real thing. The project coined 'Operation Night Watch' by Rijksmuseum, aims to explore Rembrandt's masterpiece and fit the missing pieces of the puzzle. If you have been missing your favourite artworks, then check out our roundup of the best online art galleries to get your fix. 

The painting the Night Watch

The Night Watch painting is on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (Image credit: Rijksmuseum/Rembrandt)

You can explore the painting on the Rijksmuseum website. The museum has set up the photo so you can zoom in and out on the tiniest incredible details in the painting. You can see every crack, brushstroke and even hair in the painting, and a computer-generated image of the painting allows you to have a look at what art historians think the painting should've looked like, as some think it was never fully finished by Rembrandt.

According to the Rijksmuseum, the photo of the painting was shot with a 100 gigapixel camera. The Operation Night Watch team took over 8400 individual photos of the painting, meaning that the detailed photo is approximately 717 gigapixels in size or 717,000,000,000 pixels - which is an absolutely mind-blowing amount. We have some spectacular cameras in our roundup of the best cameras of 2022 that aren't quite 717 gigapixels, but they're still pretty brilliant. 

A close up of an eye in the painting

Imagine taking a selfie with this much detail (Image credit: Rijksmuseum/Rembrandt)

We are utterly in awe of the level of detail in this photo and we can't wait to see what other paintings we will get to see in such incredible detail – perhaps you'd like to get up close with your favourite Van Gogh or Monet. While we wait to see what painting next gets photographed, why not try your hand at traditional art? If the sound of becoming the next Picasso or Kahlo tickles your fancy, then check out our guide on the essential art supplies you need to kick start your art career. 

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Amelia Bamsey
Staff Writer

Amelia is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After completing a degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering a range of topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, optical illusions, logos (she's a particular fan of logo Easter eggs), gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.