On February 17th the Egyptian Minister for Antiquities Khaled El Enany, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova and Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner attended the opening of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative Training Centre at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings just above Carter’s House and the facsimile of Tutankhamun’s Tomb. Learn more.
Factum Foundation´s recreation of the Borgherini Chapel is now in London! It will be on display at the National Gallery during the exhibition Sebatiano and Michelangelo (15 March - 25 June). Learn more about the recreation.
Our own Ferdinand Saumarez Smith wrote a piece for The Economist about his extraordinary experience visiting Ennedi in Chad and recording rock art. Read it here! Learn more about our collaboration with the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) in Nigeria and Chad.
The New Yorker has published an article on Factum. Daniel Zalewski´s text gives an insight into the world of Factum and explains the processes developed to help contemporary artists realise their ideas and the Foundation's approach to the preservation of cultural heritage.
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Eight fragments from the tomb of Seti I have been recorded with the Lucida 3D Scanner at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for their re-materialisation and re-integration into the future facsimile of the entire tomb. So far, the gathered data is being processed and 3D models are being generated and materialised. This phase is part of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative.
Our collaboration with Strawberry Hill House is reaching critical mass! Over the past few days, 33 drawings by George Vertue were recorded along with their frames at Sudeley Castle, near Winchcombe. The copies of the drawings in their specially designed frames will be recreated and returned to the recently-restored room. More research is needed but it would be wonderful to see the original Holbein, Vertue copies and Factum Foundation's facsimiles together.
Factum Arte is in the process of routing the oak facsimile of the mosque doors at Kala-Koreysh (Daghestan). They are being routed at the highest possible resolution to fit the current frames and facilitate their reintegration into the mosque. Click here for more news.
Factum Foundation is proud to announce that the full excavation, 3D recording and safe reburial of the Cochno Stone is now complete. The Cochno Stone is Scotland’s largest and best examples of Neolithic / Bronze Age cup and ring markings dating from 3000 to 2000 BC. The 3D data has now been post-processed and the team hopes this might shed some light on the reasons the markings were made. Read more news here.
The new book scanner designed to record fragile manuscripts in Daghestan is now complete. The scanner will be used to digitise books at the State Archive in Makachkala and record manuscripts around the country in the collections of Islamic scholars, madrassas and Mosques. Click here for more news.
The Foundation is determined to ensure through the use of the most advanced digital technology available to us that future generations inherit our physical heritage through truly accurate recording and open source dissemination of the object’s condition as we received it and where it can be studied in depth and enjoyed by all. Where this requires the creation of facsimiles to preserve the original and make the digitally perfect derivative available to a global public then we will be there.
Your contributions will help us continue our work which also includes the investigation and development of new technologies and training local artisans globally in these technologies.
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I tried to find a good image of the Rowland Lockey painting, painted in 1593 -after Holbein the Younger's contemporary work- of the Sir Thomas More, his father, his household and his descendents prompted by an article in the Sunday Times (Nicholas Hellen) about the interventions made at the order of Sir Roy Strong - then Director of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Of course there are many high resolution photographs of the present, altered, object - it is in the Gallery and is well documented - an iconic image (3m x 2.25m), a marvellous and strangely intimate painting of a Tudor household - Erasmus said it was like being in the room with the family. What I couldn't find was a good record of the painting before the removal of the Catholic artefacts (five shields and two scrolls) which Strong was apparently advised were later additions and which he instructed should be removed as they were 'horrid'.
Serendipitously, on the same page as the article about the Lockey painting was another piece -this by Dalya Alberge- which concerned a work that can be seen (from March 15th to June 25th) in the National Gallery -the re-creation of the Borgherini Chapel from the church of San Pietro in Montorio. This is very nearly a contemporary work to the Holbein - but in this case is still a truly Catholic image - painted by the partnership of Michelangelo and his protégé Sebastiano between 1516 and 1524 -The Transfiguration and Flagellation of Christ . This second work of art is still in Rome. It has been meticulously recorded in three dimensions and colour by the Foundation and re-created exactly for the Exhibition at the National Gallery in London devoted to the partnership (sadly the re-creation is at 0.9:1 scale as that was needed to fit it into the NG space; the digital file is, of course, 1:1). It is a tremendous piece of work and tells many stories about digital re-creation, when finely executed.
But -there is something else. Of the Michelangelo/Sebastiano we have a perfect recording so that at any time in the future, whatever intervention -accidental or intended- may occur to the original, researchers (and also you and I) will still have the digitally preserved original to refer to -and even re-create from. In the case of the Lockey's Sir Thomas More we don't have that- or the information that the erased shields and words might help us understand -the possibly powerful statement by the C16th family that is now lost.
This strange juxtaposition in the Sunday Times reminds us of a lesson we are learning - and luckily it is becoming standard practice, an established protocol - that before ANY intervention we should record what we have in the highest definition possible then we would never have to regret the changes that might be made. The more custodians of our heritage have access to the technology we have developed the better and we want them to have it now- as the National Gallery does. With your help we can ensure this happens.
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