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Facsimile of the Jamnitzer Bell at Strawberry Hill House
Facsimile of the Jamnitzer Bell at Strawberry Hill House

The extraordinary 'Cellini Bell' by Wenzel Jamnitzer (1507/1508 to 1585) was recorded in June 2018 at the British Museum in London. This highly intricate cast and chased silver bell was amongst the most difficult objects Factum Foundation has ever recorded. It has been replicated in silver using several techniques to try to retain the extraordinary level of detail that characterises Jamnitzer's work. The exact facsimile will be included in the exhibition "Lost Treasure of Strawberry Hill" (20th October - 24th February 2019) in Twickenham.

This exhibition brings back to Strawberry Hill some of the most important masterpieces in Horace Walpole’s famous and unique collection. Horace Walpole’s collection was one of the most important of the 18th century. It was dispersed in a great sale in 1842. For the first time in over 170 years, Strawberry Hill can be seen as Walpole conceived it, with the collection in the interiors as he designed it, shown in their original positions.

Factum Foundation supports Strawbery Hill Trust in its effort to recreate the original splendor of Walpole´s home and collection. Several other treasures from Strawberry Hill, such as Sir Joshua Reynolds' The Ladies Waldegrave or Allan Ramsay´s portrait of Horace Walpole´s nieces, have been recorded since 2015.

Learn more.


Recording of 11 shabti figurines of Seti I
Recording of 11 shabti figurines of Seti I

A team from Factum Foundation has started the photogrammetric recording of eleven shabti statuettes from the tomb of Seti I (1290-1279BC) in the Valley of the Kings. These statuettes are part of the permanent collection of the Museo Civico Archeologico of Bologna (MCABo). The information recorded will be included in a virtual rendition of Giovanni Battista Belzoni's 1821 exhibition at the Egyptian Hall in London, a digital monograph part of the Brown University digital publishing initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This will hopefully be the first step toward a future collaboration to preserve and enhance the MCA's Egyptian collection.

Shabtis
Ten statuettes are made of wood and one of faïence. Highly artistic in quality and larger in size, the latter shows the sovereign with the regal nemes headdress, the usekh pectoral as well as wide bracelets on his wrists, dotted with cobalt blue on a ground lapis lazuli. These shabtis, discovered in 1817 by Belzoni in the pharaoh’s tomb along with hundreds of other specimens, were created to be resuscitated magically through the formula written on their bodies - Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead - responding to their owner (shabti means “answerer”) and standing in his stead in the agricultural work of the afterlife. The weeding hoes in the ruler’s hands and the sack for seeds on his shoulders served this purpose.

The Museo Civico Archeologico of Bologna
The MCA of Bologna contains the exceptional archaeological collections from the former Museo Universitario, the donated collection of painter Pelagio Palagi, and from the excavations effected in Bologna and the surrounding area between the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century.


Factum Arte's profile, by Patek Philippe
Factum Arte's profile, by Patek Philippe

"The idea really is something like the old renaissance workshops where people with many different skills, work to pursue a common goal." In his interview by Patek Philippe Magazine, Adam Lowe talks about Factum Arte, Factum Foundation, the creative energy that animates the workshops and the contemporary artists, artisans and secular masterpieces that run them.

To know more about the articulation of this unique place where artists, technicians and artisans join their passions and experiment with cutting-edge technologies, like art students in a playground, you can watch this video and read the corresponding article published by Patek Philippe Magazine.


'Applying Technology: Preserving the Past… Informing the Present' by Adam Lowe
'Applying Technology: Preserving the Past… Informing the Present' by Adam Lowe

The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, the Fundación Gondra Barandiarán and the Universidad de Deusto are presenting the first edition of the summer course "Museographies. Ways of seeing art". Taking place in June, this 3-day course will offer an intensive academic programme directed by Miguel Zugaza. Its principal aim is to analyse different issues related to new trends in current museography, a term used in this context to encompass the group of practices and new narratives – or "ways of seeing", to cite John Berger's phrase from his celebrated essay – which are employed in museums in their role as spaces for the conservation, display, study and dissemination of cultural goods. On 29 June, Adam Lowe, founder of the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation was present for the talk: Applying Technology: Preserving the Past… Informing the Present.

For more information, click here.


Adam Lowe's Talk at UNESCO's ReACH Conference
Adam Lowe's Talk at UNESCO's ReACH Conference

In May 2017, UNESCO launched the ReACH (Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage) initiative, a program aiming at engaging in a global conversation with museums and heritage communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities that digital reproduction entails today and determine how these technologies can be employed to better study, preserve and share the world's cultural heritage.

On 22nd of June, Adam Lowe, Factum Foundation's founding director, was part of a conference at UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris. This event will gather all the practitioners who contributed to the ReACH initiative to present their results after a year of collaboration to Members States and UNESCO's representatives, and share the ReACH Declaration.

Read more here.


Powhatan's Mantle is the Object of the Month at the Ashmolean Museum
Powhatan's Mantle is the Object of the Month at the Ashmolean Museum

In June, the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford nominated the Powhatan's Mantle object of the month. This leather, shell and sinew piece is one of the oldest and most important artefacts of the museum. In fact, it was part of the original Tradescant collection catalogue in 1656. This remarkable object dates back to the first period of contact between native Americans and English colonists. Chief Powhatan, the original owner of the mantle, was the one leading the main political and military actions in front of the colonists. Today, he is also known for being the father of Pocahontas.

In 2017, Factum Foundation digitised it for conservation purposes using photogrammetry, a non-contact high resolution technique. During the recording process, 2103 pictures of the mantle were taken. Today, the final result can be accessed through an online browser where the user can swap between 3D and colour data or merge them and zoom in to incredible details of the object.

Factum Foundation provided the museum with both the raw and processed data for their use.
Read more here


Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

An innovative cartographic model of Middle-earth is exhibited at the Bodleian Library's exhibition Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth from June, 1st - October, 28th. The exhibition comprises drawings and notes made by Tolkien whilst he was composing The Lord of the Rings.

In conjunction with Factum Foundation, Factum Arte's contribution features a dynamic 4D map carved into translucent resin and surrounded by elvish lettering routed into aluminium. A screen-based video is visible through the translucent material and a video-projection, mounted above the map, adds further layers of factual and atmospheric information, including the routes taken by the main characters in the trilogy. Four-dimensional mapping of this kind is becoming increasingly important as the past and present inform each other.

To get some sense of the imaginative potential of the map, visit the exhibition in Oxford.


The Wedding at Cana's facsimile case at the Biennale di Architettura
The Wedding at Cana's facsimile case at the Biennale di Architettura

The facsimile of The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese, produced by Factum Arte, is part of the cases selected by the Venice Pavilion at the Biennale di Architettura 2018. For this edition, the Venice Pavilion has the purpose to offer a project of shared management of the knowledge. The original, currently held at the Louvre, was made for the refectory of the Benedictine monastery of S. Giorgio Maggiore. With this copy, Veronese’s masterpiece was brought back to the city of Venice and the island of S. Giorgio.

Click here to know more about the process and production of the Wedding at Cana's facsimile.


Recording Wenzel Jamnitzer's Bell
Recording Wenzel Jamnitzer's Bell

In June 2018, a team from Factum Foundation has started working at the British Museum to record one of Wenzel Jamnitzer's most important works: a decorative bell produced in the mid-16th century. The intricacy of the surface represents one of the most challenging objects that Factum Foundation has ever tried to record. The project represents a continuation in Factum's interest in Jamnitzer, which first involved translating his perspectival studies into 3D models; read more about that project here.


Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice
Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice

On May 28th, the Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice centre was launched in its new space on the island of San Giorgio. Triggered by the vision of the Cini Foundation, Factum Foundation and the DHLAB-EPFL, the Center will employ cutting-edge recording technology for the understanding of cultural heritage.

The initiative started in 2015 with a collaboration between the three parties to digitize the photo-archive of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini the most in-depth record of paintings from the Veneto. Factum Foundation's relationship with the Cini started in 2006 with the game-changing facsimile of Veronese’s Wedding at Cana.


Toponyms in the Book of Roger
Toponyms in the Book of Roger

Aliaa Ismail, an egyptologist and Arabic speaker, is studying the toponyms in the 12th century map compiled by the Muslim cartographer Al-Idrisi from travel accounts collected in Sicily at the court of the Norman King Roger II. The maps in a 16th century Egyptian manuscript copy of the Book of Roger were digitised by Factum Foundation at the Bodleian Library in 2017. Using this data, Ismail will assemble a database cross-referencing the toponyms with the text that accompanies the map, tracing land and sea routes taken by travellers in the Middle Ages. Perhaps one of the most interesting examples describes the source of the Nile as the ‘Mountain of the Moon’. The waters were thought to collect in a lake from where they split into two rivers stretching north - the Egyptian Nile - and west - the Sudan Nile - at a mountain known as Al-Qasm or ‘the partition’.

Read more.


Reconstructing a monument by Antonio Canova
Reconstructing a monument by Antonio Canova

Pedro Miro and Otto Lowe recorded the plaster fragments of an equestrian statue of Ferdinand IV made by Antonio Canova in 1806. The fragments of the monument are conserved at the Museo Civico in Bassano del Grappa in Italy. All fragments were recorded using photogrammetry and a white light Breuckmann scanner. The information obtained from both systems will be processed using Reality Capture to produce a 3D model of the original monument.

Our collaboration with the Museo Civico began last October with the recording of Canova's sculpture The Three Graces and the digitisation of various sketches and preparatory drawings. Learn more about the project here.


Joining forces to combat the destruction of Antiquities
Joining forces to combat the destruction of Antiquities

As a member of the core research team, the Factum Foundation has participated in all the Reach roundtables. The Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage Project (ReACH) was a research group dedicated to drafting guidelines for recording cultural heritage. ReACH coincides with the 150th anniversary of Henry Cole’s 1867 Convention, which helped usher in a period where museums actively engaged in the creation of reproductions of objects from around the world. The document is inspiring in its clarity, practicality and openness to the creation and sharing of reproductions. Read it here.


Facsimile of a Raphael
Facsimile of a Raphael

Factum Foundation is producing a facsimile of Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary (c. 1514-1516) by Raphael. The painting was a commission for the altar in Santa Maria dello Spasimo in Palermo, but has had a long and unsettled history. The ship carrying the Christ Falling sank during the passage from Geneva to Sicily - the painting miraculously survived, appearing on the shores of Palermo. It was acquired by the Spanish Royal Family in the mid. 17th century and later taken to France by Napoleon where it was tranferred from its wooden panel to a canvas, a common French practice at the time. In 1822, the painting returned to the Royal Collection and now hangs in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Factum's present objective is to recreate the painting and return it to Palermo. Santa Maria dello Spasimo has endured significant damage over the centuries, but the chapel and marble altarpiece still exist. Using data from high-resolution composite photography, the painting will be printed onto a thin skin of gesso and fixed to a re-materialised 'wooden' panel.


The Tomb of Cardinal Tavera
The Tomb of Cardinal Tavera

In its first collaboration with Fundación Casa Ducal Medinaceli, Factum Foundation is sending a team to record the Tomb of Cardinal Tavera, carved in Carrara marble by Alonso Berruguete (1488-1561) between 1554 and 1561. The tomb, one of the greatest examples of Spanish Renaissance sculpture, stands in the centre of the Church of John the Baptist in the Hospital de Tavera (Toledo). The digitisation using LiDAR and high-resolution photogrammetry will take place in late May 2018.

The recording was triggered when the National Gallery of Washington requested the top of the tomb in loan for a major exhibition on the work of Berruguete opening in 2019. The 3D recording will inform a conservation report and facilitate condition monitoring.

During the Spanish Civil War, the tomb suffered from vandalism and iconoclastic attacks and the Foundation will also digitise plaster casts created before the 1930s to produce a digital reconstruction of the pre-war state of the monument.


Ikom Monoliths: Paris & Brussels
Ikom Monoliths: Paris & Brussels

Next week, Factum Foundation will be travelling to Paris and Brussels to record two fine examples of Ikom monoliths in the collections of the Musée Quai Branly and gallery Didier Claes. The former was identified by Factum from a photograph in the archive of Philip Allison held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and was originally located at the site Eting Nta, the latter has not yet been identified in any photographs. Read more about the project here.


Recording Murillo in Seville
Recording Murillo in Seville

In February and March 2018, Factum Foundation digitised two large paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Miracle of the Fish and Bread and Moses drawing water from the rock – at the Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico in Seville.

The Lucida 3D Scanner was employed to scan the surface relief and colour information was captured using a technique known as panoramic photography, a method of obtaining high-resolution data by taking multiple images that are then stitched together. The data will become part of a multi-layered digital archive encompassing other analyses carried out at the IAPH. As part of the project, the paintings' two ornate gilded frames, made by Bernardo Simón de Pineda, one of the preeminent altarpiece sculptors of 17th century Seville, were also digitised with close-range photogrammetry. Given the problems many 3D recording systems have with shiny objects, the digitisation would have been considered almost impossible a couple of years ago.

This project was carried out in collaboration with the Hermandad de la Santa Caridad, the Caixa Foundation and the IAPH. Both paintings are currently on view at the exhibition “Murillo cercano: Miradas cruzadas” at the Hospital de la Claridad in Seville. To learn more about Murillo's work in Seville click here.


The Voices of the Amazon
The Voices of the Amazon

A radio programme that explores the culture of the Kuikuro people and is presented by one of Factum's long-term collaborators, Jerry Brotton, is now available on the BBC World service. The programme was recorded alongside Factum Foundation's work with People's Palace Projects and Takuma Kuikuro in Xingu last May.


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