paint and brushes

Famous Paintings and 3D Printing: Replicating the Masters

Priceless Art Becomes Accessible

If you are an art aficionado, lover of the Masters, you would want to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, or Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, or Picasso’s La Vie, up close and personal. However, you’d have to fly halfway around the world to view these original masterpieces. From time to time priceless art pieces are exchanged, borrowed by other prestigious museums and art galleries around the world for limited exhibitions. These trips can be long distances, entailing huge expenses and manpower.

Can you imagine if these masterpieces can be viewed at your museum right in the city where you live? Art galleries could one day replace priceless masterpieces with replicas that look virtually identical to the real thing. That’s thanks to a new 3D printing technique. The process uses artificial intelligence (AI) with 3D printing to recreate colors from an original artwork with astounding accuracy.

How does it work?

A 3D printer will stack ten different transparent inks in wafer-thin layers on a canvas. The technique known as RePaint is combined with a decades-old technique called half-toning, where an image is created by tiny colored dots rather than in continuous tones. These two processes will blend to capture the nuances of the different colors in extraordinary detail, making a copy just like the original.

The technique was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the scientists there claimed it is four times more accurate than current printing techniques.

The good side to this is that the best art pieces and most notable in the world can be displayed as replicas in as many galleries, fostering exchange and appreciation among art lovers. Rather than the pieces confined to one huge and moneyed institution, famous art works can be viewed by as many people in different venues. Art should be more communal and accessible. This can also encourage a wider fan base to go see the real thing after seeing a replica in their own home town or museum.

At MIT, though there is progress, improvements are called for. For example, while the colors are almost exactly the same, the texture of the ink does not match the rough texture of artworks painted with oils or acrylics. Likewise, the researchers would still like to improve on the dazzle of some of the paintings, such as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.


Looking Forward to Priceless Artworks in Seattle

It might happen that you’ll find a priceless work of art displayed at our city museum one day. Your eyes are not fooling you, it’s a replica, brought to you by 3D printing. There are so many possibilities with 3D printing technology.