The Starry Night is an oil on canvas by the Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Painted in June 1889, it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. It has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1941, acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. It is regarded as among Van Gogh's finest works, and is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture.
The team at Custom Prototypes created a CAD file based off a high-resolution image of The Starry Night to recreate the 3D printed replica of the painting. The painting was closely analyzed by the 3D modeling team to create the CAD “primed canvas” 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. Using multiple applications like Photoshop, Solidworks, and Materialize Magics, the team was able to recreate a textured STL file of the painting that was then 3D printed in two parts on a high SLA 3D printer.
A special team of engineers from the Custom Prototypes team also recreated a 3D printed period frame to go along with the painting, this was possible after obtaining a 19th century European impressionist frame from a local art dealer, which was then 3D scanned and printed using 3D SLA technology.
The Canvas and Frame were both printed in four parts using Z Rapid Technologies’ SL-600 and SL-450 and were printed in DSM Somos NeXt, and DSM SOMOS 9420, respectively.
After the Canvas base was printed the team has to carefully color it and complete the creative finishing process. The team had to analyze the original painting and many hours were spent on reproducing every stroke and details and color on the surface. Then a aging process was applied and a final varnish to the painting.
The same technique was used to recreate the frame to achieve the right age and color, this took the team about 4 weeks to achieve the desired effect with paint, gold leaf and more aging techniques.
This painting was displayed at this years Additive Manufacturing User Group (AMUG) conference in St. Louis, Missouri and took home the first place in the Advanced Finishing category of the AMUG’s Technical Competition.