May 16, 2016 | By Tess

Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889) has remained one of the Dutch painter’s most famous and iconic works over the last hundred years. The stunning and tormented work was painted during Van Gogh’s last year alive, and depicts the view from his asylum room in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. The painting, which shows a vast starry sky, and the small village below it in Van Gogh’s signature post-impressionist style, has been recognized for its formal elements, including its color palette and its high relief textural elements. In an effort to pay homage to the Dutch painter’s work as well as to show the impressive artistic capabilities of contemporary 3D scanning and printing technologies, Toronto, Canada-based 3D printing company Custom Prototypes has produced an impressive 3D printed replica of The Starry Night.

3D printed replica of 'The Starry Night'

To create the 3D printed replica of the painting, the team at Custom Prototypes created a CAD file based off a high-resolution image of The Starry Night. The high res image, which showed Van Gogh’s technique of texturing his canvas using a thick layer of gesso—a white colored paint binding mixture—before painting it , was closely analyzed by the 3D modeling team to create the CAD “primed canvas”. Using Photoshop, Solidworks, and Materialize Magics, they were able to recreate a textured STL file of the painting that was 3D printed in two parts on a high precision stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer.

The Custom Prototypes team, made up of a number of engineers, also decided to create a 3D printed period frame to present their 3D printed replica painting with. To do so, they actually obtained a 19th century European impressionist frame  from a local art dealer, which they then 3D scanned and 3D printed using SLA technologies. Both the canvas and the frame—which had to be printed in four parts—were additively manufactured using Z Rapid Technologies’ SL-600 and SL-450 and were printed in DSM Somos NeXt, and DSM SOMOS 9420, respectively.

Detail of Van Gogh's 'The Starry Night'

After 3D printing the textural base of the painting, the team then had to meticulously color it and complete the creative finishing process. As explained in a press release about the 3D printed artwork, “Under the expertise of a professional art restorer, Custom Prototypes turned to the ages-old technique of oil painting. Again, undertaking a thorough analysis of the original piece, many hours were spent reproducing virtually every point and colour on the surface.” To finish the piece after painting, the team then applied aging processes and a final varnish to the painting.

As the team wanted to make the 3D printed frame as authentic as possible to go with the painting they also underwent a number of finishing processes with it. To achieve the desired effect, the frame was finished with paint, gold leaf, and more aging techniques. The artistic finishing processes took the team about four weeks to complete.

3D printed replica

The 3D printed replica of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night is undeniably impressive, and was even recognized with an award after its unveiling. That is, the 3D printed painting, which was displayed at this year’s Additive Manufacturing User Group (AMUG) conference in St. Louis, Missouri, took home first place in the Advanced Finishing category of the AMUG’s Technical Competition.

Of course, while the 3D printed painting may raise some questions about the ability to recreate famous artworks, thus opening the door for potential forgeries, the feat of replicating Van Gogh’s stunning and emotional work using a combination of modern technologies and traditional techniques is still very impressive and commendable.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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3DWP wrote at 5/16/2016 1:23:41 PM:

A lithophane of Van Gogh's Starry Night can be downloaded here, on 3DWP's Thingiverse page:

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