The recording of Raphael’s Cartoons at the V&A
The recording of Raphael’s Cartoons at the V&A

In August 2019, a team of 3D recording and high-resolution panoramic photography specialists from Factum Foundation carried out the recording of the Raphael Cartoons at the V&A, which have been loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. This project was one of Factum Foundation’s most ambitious digitisation works undertaken to date.

Over a period of five weeks, three teams worked around the clock to digitise the 115 sqm of the Cartoons' surface, recording the Cartoons in colour, infra-red and 3D at a resolution of up to 10,000 points/cm2. On any one day in August, up to four Lucida 3D scanners were to be found at work in the galleries, poised on scaffolding three metres above the ground, and by night the space was lit up by the flash of hundreds of photographs. It was a project which required meticulous planning and recording innovations to suit the specific requirements of the artworks, as well as close coordination with the teams from the V&A, Royal Collection Trust and Momart.

Over the coming months, the data will be processed in Factum Foundation's Madrid workshops: hundreds of overlapping 3D scans will be stitched together, and the datasets for colour and 3D will be merged to produce multi-layer records of the seven Cartoons.

The results will set new standards for cultural heritage documentation, allowing these masterpieces of Renaissance art to be seen up close as never before.

Recording Michelangelo's <i> Epifania </i> at the British Museum
Recording Michelangelo's Epifania at the British Museum

On 29 July, Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod participated in a Study Workshop at the British Museum and presented the results from the recording of Michelangelo's Epifania cartoon.

A few weeks earlier, Factum Foundation used high-resolution 3D scanning to digitise the surface of Michelangelo's Epifania (1550-1553), a collaboration with the Department of Collections Care at the British Museum.

The results of the 3D scan were mapped onto other datasets, including the colour recorded at a resolution of more than 850dpi by Gabriel Scarpa, UV, IR and other historical images to create a layered archive of information that can be used for in-depth research into the cartoon's creation and history.

For the week-long recording, the fragile cartoon could only be positioned flat on a purpose-built supporting platform, which meant Factum had to design a new horizontal configuration for the Lucida 3D Laser Scanner, to enable the digitisation of this large-scale object.

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