Opening of the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland
Opening of the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland

Led by Jonathan Ruffer, the Auckland Project is working to regenerate large sections of the town of Bishop Auckland. Part of the redevelopment is the new Spanish Gallery, the first museum in the UK to be devoted to Spanish art, which opened on October 15, 2021.

Factum Foundation and Skene Catling de la Peña were commissioned to rethink the concept and role of a museum for the top floor. The result, ‘In the Blink of an Eye, Transience and Eternity in the Spanish Golden Age’, is a space filled with great objects, all with their own specific history, biography and meaning in their original location, but with the potential to unlock a profound understanding of Spanish art when put together in dialogue with each other. The original pieces were all chosen, digitally recorded using non-contact technologies and re-embodied as physical facsimiles to reveal some of the defining characteristics of this period of Spanish art and its context.
The outcome is a portal into Spanish Renaissance and early Baroque thinking and a collection of mutually beneficial collaborations that redefine sharing, connoisseurship and preservation.

Discover the exhibition

AOA ARCHiVe Online Academy 2021

As part of the Fondazione Cini’s 70th anniversary celebrations, a special lecture on September 27 (4:30-6:30 PM CET) was held by Adam Lowe, founder of Factum Foundation, and Frédéric Kaplan from EPFL, presenting the project to digitise the entire island of San Giorgio Maggiore started in 2020. Click here to watch.

The Giorgio Cini Foundation, within the ARCHiVe project, presents for 2021 an online training program of 30 lessons divided into 4 thematic areas and a special presentation dedicated to the digitisation of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Foundation. More on AOA - ARCHiVe Online Academy

Recording the painted caves of Laas Geel
Recording the painted caves of Laas Geel

In collaboration with the Hargeysa Cultural Centre and the Redsea Cultural Foundation, a team from Factum Foundation travelled to Somaliland in July/August to carry out a skills and technology transfer while recording buildings, manuscripts and several sites containing Neolithic paintings.

The team carried out the high-resolution 3D documentation of the painted chambers at Laas Geel: a complex of 22 rock shelters containing some of the earliest known rock art in the region, dating back to an estimated 5,000 years and remarkably preserved. Despite the remarkable condition of the paintings in Laas Geel, both human and natural changes require condition monitoring, new documentation skills and proper infrastructure to preserve the integrity of the site. The Somaliland Government, through its Ministry of Tourism, and the Redsea Cultural Foundation are focussed on ensuring this happens.

In close collaboration with Dr. Jama Musse Jama, director of the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, Factum Foundation recorded seven individual caves using LiDAR, photogrammetry and panoramic composite photography. The complete 3D and colour datasets of Laas Geel, Dhagax Kure and Dhagax Marode were handed to the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, to ensure the high-resolution data stays in the country. It will be shared with the Somaliland authorities when it is fully processed.

More on the project

ARCHiVe and Divirod
ARCHiVe and Divirod

Research into new monitoring systems

Following a radio programme on the ARCHiVe project, discussing the digitisation of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice (The World, September 2020), Factum Foundation was contacted by Divirod, a start-up from Boulder, Colorado. Divirod has developed a pasive radar sensor that uses satellites and locally recorded data to generate accurate hydrological models. The installation of the sensor in late August is part of ARCHiVe's work to document and study both cultural heritage and natural changes on and around the island.

As the sensor starts to log vast quantities of dynamic information, we will be working with the Cini Foundation to find new applications and develop tools that will help provide answers to practical needs.

The digitisation of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore will be featured in the 2021 edition of ARCHiVe Online Academy: an online training program of 30 free lessons divided into 4 thematic areas starting today, until December 20.
More information on how to access the free classes here.

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A New Publication: <i>The Aesthetics of Marble</i>
A New Publication: The Aesthetics of Marble

Coming Soon

The Aesthetics of Marble: From Late Antiquity to the Present, by Dario Gamboni, Gerhard Wolf and Jessica Richardson aims to shed new light on the celebration and uses of marble in art and literature and on the iconic potential of the stone.

Adam Lowe and Charlotte Skene Catling contributed with an essay titled ‘Articulate Stones in the Digital Age. Wrinkles, Scars, Blotches, Bruises, Fractures, Mutilations, Amputations, Dislocations and Restorations’.

If you want to know more about this publication or if you need a copy, please email:

The 15th International Alvar Aalto Symposium – Future of Industry

The 15th International Alvar Aalto Symposium – Future of Industry (August 12-13 2021), focussed on the current challenges of the spaces and milieus of the history, present and future manufacturing industry. Charlotte Skene Catling and Adam Lowe presented the AALTOSIILO as keynote speakers in this event organised by the Alvar Aalto Academy together with the City of Jyväskylä and several other partners. The 2-day programme included besides speeches and conversations, architectural excursions, exhibitions and various public events.

Grinling Gibbons' <i>Crucifixion</i>
Grinling Gibbons' Crucifixion

Revealing a phenomenal artist

In late May 2021, Factum Foundation scanned Gibbons’ Crucifixion (1671), a limewood relief at Dunham Massey, the National Trust property in Cheshire, UK. The complexity of the carving required the merging of multiple layers of 3D data from the Lucida scanner with photogrammetry of the overall shape. The time involved gave us the opportunity to gain an intimate understanding of Grinling Gibbons’ technical genius.

Previews of the model were on show at the exhibition Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making at Bonhams in London (August 3 – 27). The finished 3D model will be on display at Compton Verney from September 24 until 30 January 2021. The exhibition celebrates Gibbons’ tercentenary this year and has been organised by the Grinling Gibbons Society, which commissioned the digitisation of the Crucifixion.

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Factum Foundation and RCU: final phase

Factum Foundation is delighted to announce that the project to record the Nabataean, Dadanite and Lihyanite heritage in the AlUla oasis in high-resolution 3D and colour is in its final phase after two years of intensive work.

Over the past month of recording, the focus moved away from the tomb façades and inscriptions and towards the environments in which they sit. The outcrops from which the tombs were carved in Hegra, the World Heritage Site in AlUla, were recorded in their entirety using photogrammetry.

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Factum and Colnaghi: recording a 16th century tapestry
Factum and Colnaghi: recording a 16th century tapestry

Factum Foundation and Colnaghi are developing an increasingly close relationship. This month we have completed the full colour and 3D recording of both sides of an important tapestry by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502-1550) woven in about 1530. It is the only surviving tapestry from a series of nine works commissioned by Henry VIII, depicting the life of St. Paul. The resulting digital passport of the object will be essential to monitor the condition of the tapestry and will be used for conservation and research purposes. The data will also inform a study into the stresses placed on the threads holding the tapestry together and will inform a digital reconstruction of the original colour.

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Recording in Venice: Titian's <i>La Sapienza</i>
Recording in Venice: Titian's La Sapienza

For the exhibition 'Tizians Frauenbild' (5 October 2021 - 16 January 2022) at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, Factum Foundation carried out the recording of Titian’s La Sapienza (c. 1560) at the Biblioteca Marciana.

The painting was recorded on June 16th in Venice using composite photography by Gabriel Scarpa, with the aim of producing a facsimile that will be on display on the vaulted ceiling while the original will be in Wien for the exhibition.

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Tutankhamun 2022
Tutankhamun 2022

Next year is the hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter and his team. Factum's 3D and colour data, recorded in 2009, is in demand and we are following instructions from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities about how to make the data accessible.

Our 3D-modelling team is currently working on a new 4K model of the tomb that will demonstrate the importance of high-resolution recording.

More on Factum's work on Tutankhamun

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