The reason is that if I understand the logic of Base64, it's that each character stores 6 bits. My private key .pem has 49 lines of 64 characters worth of Base64, though the sat line isn't full. Anyway, this is data worth of over 18000 bits. The RSA key is supposed to be 4096 bits, so this can't be correct.

What am I missing?

PEM is a X.509 certificate (whose structure is defined using ASN.1), encoded using the ASN.1 DER (distinguished encoding rules), then run through Base64 encoding and stuck between plain-text anchor lines (BEGIN CERTIFICATE and END CERTIFICATE).

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