Russian Start-up Prixel Develop Painting-Copying Technology

Russian company Prixel has developed technology that allows copies of paintings that fully convey the texture of the artist's brushstrokes to be printed at a cost of no more than $200.

The only similar technology is unable to match this price, with the price of making one copy of a painting reaching up to $33,000. Prixel's technology uses a conventional wide-format set of ultraviolet printers in its work, which makes it possible to seriously reduce costs. The Prixel program allows not only for the 'reading' of brushstroke contours, but also of the paint's colour and shine. Prixel saves information on the layers in a file with a format developed by the program itself.

"A regular reproduction of a Van Gogh painting, of course, conveys the mood of the painting and a general impression of the artwork, but without replacing the contours of the forms taken by the strokes of the artist's brush, the uniqueness of his technique is lost," says Lyubov Cherevan, owner of Prixel.

According to the owner, as the original painter did not dilute his canvas, this means heavy and thick stokes still remained on the painting. The new technology allows for the complete transfer of this texture.

Prixel's first printer was a test run, as the cost price of reproducing artwork was too high. A small painting (8x10") cost $5,000. At the time, the technology was based on printing simultaneously on a 3D printer and a UV printer. However, in just half a year, Prixel succeeded in reducing the cost 500 times by not using a 3D printer and by improving its technology. Now the creation of a 16x20" picture costs just $40.

The Russian company unveiled its printer at almost the same time as photo industry leader Fujifilm. The Japanese company tested similar technology last summer, in co-operation with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. However, each copy by Fuji will cost more than $33,000.

The founders of Prixel hope they will be able to successfully negotiate with the State Hermitage museum in St Petersburg on the digitisation of the masterpieces in its collection. Additionally, they are looking at Amazon as a potential partner as approximately 300,000 reproductions are sold through the internet store, with Van Gogh and Picasso bring the most popular prints. However, the current paintings sold are in 2D on Amazon, so would be idea for reproduction with 3D technology.