Monday, September 30, 2013

Tech: Océ 3-D Fine Art Reproductions

Not willing to let Fujifilm corner the market on 3D-printed fine art reproduction, Canon's Océ Group, which is responsible for developing the company's large format printers, is now collaborating with Dutch researcher Tim Zaman and the Kröller-Müller and Rijksmuseum museums in the Netherlands to accurately duplicate famous paintings.

Zaman has developed a photographic scanning system capable of capturing not just a high-res image of a painting, but also critical details like brush strokes and paint textures.  The results are said to be extremely  convincing.

There's no doubt that 3D-printed fine art recreations are going to be a big business, but they're also going to cause serious troubles for museums.  Not only will convincing forgeries become more and more common, making it more common for museums to become the victims of fraud, but the increasing sophistication of these forgeries will make it increasingly more expensive to verify paintings, raising the cost of new acquisitions considerably.  At the same time, with the exclusivity of paintings declining, interest in museums will slowly begin to decline, making fiscally difficult for museums to maintain the collections they already have.

It's just another example of forward progress at the cost of cultural values, not unlike the decline of physical books.  On the other hand, who wouldn't want a Van Gogh hanging in their living room?

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