Walking into the work of art

At Calit2 on the UC San Diego campus, researchers are finding new ways to interact with data. Here, project scientist Jurgen Schulze demonstrates a 3D interactive tour of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Adoration of the Magi”, using a Flock of Birds virtual-reality system and software that permits the viewer to “walk into” the painting. As researcher and “art detective” Maurizio Seracini demonstrates, taking steps toward the projection of the painting allows the user to move from the surface of the Adoration to the layer displaying an infrared image of the painting — which displays the original “underdrawing” by da Vinci. Seracini’s research confirmed that while da Vinci drew the underdrawing, others applied the sometimes erratic brown hue that characterizes the painting today on display in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

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