Recording the Raphael Cartoons at the V&A

August 2019

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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.

Raphael Cartoons panoramic photography project at V&A. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019. Photograph: Gabriel Scarpa for Factum Foundation © Factum Foundation

Raphael Cartoon, Christ's Charge to Peter (Matthew 16: 18-19 and John 21: 15-17), by Raphael, 1515–16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019 Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Raphael Cartoon, The Healing of the Lame Man (Acts 3, 1-8), by Raphael, 1515 – 16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019. Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Raphael Cartoon, The Sacrifice at Lystra (Acts 14: 8-18), by Raphael, 1515–16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2019. Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Raphael Cartoon, The Death of Ananias (Acts 5: 1-5), by Raphael, 1515–16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2019. Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Raphael Cartoon, Paul Preaching at Athens (Acts 17: 16-34), by Raphael, 1515–16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2019. Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Raphael Cartoon, The Conversion of the Proconsul or The Blinding of Elymas (Acts 13: 6-12), by Raphael, 1515–16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2019. Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Raphael Cartoon, The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5: 1-11), by Raphael, 1515 – 16, Italy. On display in the Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reopening late 2020. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019. Photograph: Victoria & Albert Museum, London

3D render with the colour and surface information merged, from a section of Raphael Cartoon The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5: 1-11), by Raphael, 1515 – 16, Italy. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019. Photograph: Factum Foundation

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