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I don’t know why I do some things. Last week I came across one of my favorite paintings on the Google Art Project by Leonardo da Vinci called Ginevra de’ Benci. It is hanging in the National Gallery in Washington DC. I have a personal relationship with this painting and perhaps that is why I downloaded it onto my computer. The Google Art Project image is very much better quality than the one seen on Wikipedia, but when seen close up in very fine detail it is a crazed mess. The way Google has the site set up it is possible to zoom into the painting and see it in microscopic detail, but it is impossible to see it all at once in the fine detail. It took all day to download about thirty six separate screen captures and then stitch them together to make one really big but very detailed picture. Then, crazy me, I spent more than twelve hours per day for over a week cleaning up that picture, often working one pixel at a time. It still isn’t done; in fact, the more I work on the picture the more the little flaws become apparent.

My original motivation, in fact my life motivation, isn’t to be perfect in anything, but to just work to where there is an absence of obvious flaw. But absence of obvious flaw in this case means trying to make a near perfect painting restored to what Leonardo would consider close to what he created, which becomes increasingly impossible.

The mouth was the easiest area to remove the flaws.

Areas with gloss and cracks with hidden foilage were difficult.

Areas with gloss in cracks were more difficult.

Note the foliage still hidden the darkness.

Below is what Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra looks like now in its half-restored state.Ginevera_Da_Vince_restored_Charles_ScamahornClick the picture for a much larger view.

I still see thousands of flaws, but it’s time to do something else. I may have seen things emerge from the gloom which haven’t been seen for hundreds of years. The beauty was always there to be seen.

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