On 9th July, Factum Foundation’s recreation of Raphael’s Christ Falls on the Route to Cavalry, nicknamed Lo Spasimo di Sicilia, was installed in the monastery of Santa Maria dello Spasimo in Palermo, where the painting hung until the middle of the 16th century.
The original painting by Raphael, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, was transferred from a wooden panel onto a canvas after being taken to Paris by Napoleon, during the Spanish War of Independence. Factum Foundation addressed this fact with the recreation of the painting on a rigid panel, in order to install it into its original frame in its original location in Palermo.
The return of Lo Spasimo to Palermo coincides with the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death. It also coincides with a series of high-resolution recording, facsimile and recreation projects by Factum Foundation, as well as several exhibitions and a publication about the role of new technologies for the preservation, sharing and understanding of cultural heritage.
Factum Foundation is glad to announce that work is starting once again in the tomb of Seti I, after the COVID-19 crisis imposed more than 100 days of interruption. The high-resolution recording of the tomb will resume from the Burial Chamber and Corridor G as the first mission in the whole of Egypt allowed to start again in the Valley of Kings, with the support and understanding of the Ministry of Antiquities.
Following the Ministry of Antiquities' COVID-19 safety measures, the team returns at a 25% members-capacity: Aliaa Ismail, Abdo Ghaba, Mosa El-Sayed and the appointed inspector Mohamed Wahba are keen on resuming this ambitious project and helping in the digital preservation of this world heritage site.
Recording and rematerialising the entire site is the main goal of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative, mainly funded by the Factum Foundation with the generous help of international donors. We would like to thank the following for their constant support: his Excellency the Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled Anany, the Secretary General of the Supreme council of Antiquities Dr. Mostafa Waziri, the permanent committees of the Ministry of Antiquities, Dr. Mohamed Abd El-Badee, Dr. Nashwa Gaber, Director of Upper Egyptian Antiquity Dr. Mohamed Yehia, Director of West Bank Antiquity Dr. Fathy Yassin, the Director of West Bank Missions Dr. Ramadan, Director of the Valley of Kings Mr. Aly Reda. Furthermore, the TNPI team thanks the staff and the guards, who have welcomed and encouraged their return on site.
Working in collaboration with Seville's Archivo Histórico Provincial, Parroquia de San Pedro and Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, a team from Factum Foundation recorded in high resolution a selection of documents related to Diego Velázquez' life. Exact reproductions of these documents, in addition to facsimiles of paintings and recreations of the objects that appear in them, will become part of the permanent exhibition itinerary of the Casa Natal de Velázquez, due to open in 2021.
Thanks to digital technology, this collection of unique objects will help putting in context the artist's early years in Seville. The documents include Velázquez's certificate of baptism, his contract of apprenticeship under Francisco Pacheco and his official certificate of acceptance into the guild of painters.
On the 4th and 5th February 2020, a team from Factum Foundation carried out the high-resolution digitisation in 3D and colour of An Old Woman Cooking Eggs at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. In this video, Aidan Weston-Lewis, chief curator at National Galleries of Scotland, and Enrique Bocanegra, director of the Casa Natal de Velázquez, talk about the importance and relevance of this collaboration and the potential for digital technologies to recover Velázquez’ legacy, as part of a wider collaboration with CEEH (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica).
A film by Óscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation
From 6th to 17th July, a team from Factum Foundation will be in Venice to carry out the recording of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Working with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Iconem, the aim is to record the entire island using several recording methods such as aerial and ground-based photogrammetry and LiDAR recording.
This initiative will serve as a pilot project to record the whole of Venice. Factum Foundation and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini have been working together since 2006 and launched ARCHiVe (Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice) in 2018.
Photo: Chiostro Palladiano, ph. Matteo De Fina © Courtesy of Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Factum Foundation is honoured to have carried out the recording of Caravaggio’s Burial of St. Lucy in the Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, Syracuse, between 24th and 30th June. The equipment is now being shipped to Seville for a major project related to the Spanish Golden Age.
More information will be available soon on our website.
Before the shutdown of museums in the UK, a team from Factum Foundation was in the process of recording Anthony van Dyck's Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke, with his Family held at Wilton House, near Salisbury.
Through a high-resolution recording in 3D and colour, it will be possible to generate an archive of the painting's surface as a resource for conservation, study and dissemination purposes. The data, which will belong to the owner of the painting, could also be used to make an exact facsimile of the painting if required in the future.
The colour recording of the painting was completed in March employing panoramic composite photography, and the recording of the surface relief using the Lucida 3D Scanner will resume in July. We hope that this major project will be the first of many digital preservation initiatives involving English Heritage.
On June 10th, the urban planning committee at Seville’s city council authorised the beginning of construction works that will create the Casa Natal de Velázquez, an interpretation centre inside the painter's birthplace in Seville. The project is in collaboration with CEEH and supported by the Sevilla City Hall.
The facsimile of the Old Woman Cooking Eggs, recorded in February at the National Galleries of Scotland, is in its last stages of production. The next paintings to be recorded are the The Waterseller of Seville (1618–1622) and Two Young Men Eating at a Humble Table (1618–1620) in the Wellington Collection at Apsley House. The recording will start as soon as the quarantine the UK is lifted.
Al-Qatt al-Asiri Pattern Book is a folio format publication produced in collaboration with Art Jameel, that has been designed as a teaching aid for the the women of Asir. The aim is to revive an art form that has been designated as 'intangible cultural heritage’ by UNESCO. These colourful geometric patterns have decorated the interior of the domestic buildings of the region for many years but are disappearing.
The book, designed by Factum, is being printed and bound by Book Works in London. The first copies will be ready very soon.
The winner of Bando Lucida 2020, The Assumption of Mary and Saints attributed to the workshops of Sandro Botticelli, in the Monumental Complex of Pilotta in Parma has been recorded with the Lucida 3D Scanner in Factum Foundation's Milan headquarters. The digital data will be of use during the phases of research and diagnostics preceding its restoration in the Open Care facilities.
On the second floor of Palazzo Fava, as part of the exhibition The Revealed Masterpiece that celebrates the return to Bologna of the Polittico Griffoni, visitors will be able to muse upon and engage with different applications of technology. The exhibition, curated by Adam Lowe, Guendalina Damone and designed by Carlos Bayod Lucini will explore the role of digital technology and reflect upon an object’s materiality and its “aura”.
The exhibition is open on appointment only, from May 18th 2020 until January 10th 2021. Visitors can purchase the tickets on Genus Bononiae's website.
Each of the six rooms will allow the visitor to engage with works of art in new ways, showcasing projects carried out by Factum Foundation since its creation in 2009. The city of Bologna, where Factum Foundation has been involved in projects since 2010, is the unifying factor tying together many of the rooms.
‘The Aura in the Age of Digital Materiality. Rethinking preservation in the shadow of an uncertain future’ (Silvana Editoriale, 2020) is a collection of essays looking at a variety of themes revealed by the application of new technologies in cultural heritage: from emerging machine-learning and artificial intelligence to access to digital information and the training of locals to carry out diverse types of digital recording resulting in the effective preservation and sharing of cultural heritage. The book is meant to accompany the exhibition and can be purchased from Factum Foundation's shop or read online.
Learn more about the exhibition
It is with great sadness that Factum Foundation reports the passing of Chief Sylvanus Akong, known to his friends as Orlando, and recognised by all as a friend of the Bakor monoliths.
In his early career, Orlando was an educator and he successfully founded and ran two schools. Then, in 1983 he was appointed by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, at the recommendation of the great Nigerian archaeologist Ekpo Eyo, as the curator of the Alok Open Air Museum, located in his home village.
Respected and admired throughout the Bakor communities, Orlando was an invaluable source of knowledge and help to UNICAL, ABU, Factum Foundation and the Trust for African Rock Art's collaborative project to preserve the monoliths and he will be sorely missed by all those who encountered him.
For more information about the project, click here.
Ahead of the three live discussions in collaboration with The Art Newspaper on 1, 2, 3 May 2020, Adam Lowe, founder of Factum Foundation, was interviewed by Ben Luke of This Week in Art on how technologies like digital scanning and artificial intelligence (AI) are being used to create facsimiles of historic paintings.
The three, 80-minute, online discussions brought together contributors to Factum Foundation’s new book, The Aura in The Age of Digital Materiality – Rethinking Preservation in the Shadow of an Uncertain Future, with other experts from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. The discussions considered the increasing prominence of high-resolution recordings of cultural heritage and their place in the display spaces of the present and the future.
Discussion 1 - Friday 1 May - 17:00 BST, 12:00 EST
Discussion 2 - Saturday 2 May - 17:00 BST, 12:00 EST
Discussion 3 - Sunday 3 May - 17:00 BST, 12:00 EST
More information about the event here
The sculptural group of the Compianto sul Cristo morto (Lamentation over the Dead Christ) by Niccolò dell’Arca is located in the main chapel of the Church of Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna. The fragility of the seven terracotta statues led Factum Foundation, in collaboration with Genus Bononiae, to record the group in December 2019, as part of the exhibition La Materialità dell’Aura at Palazzo Fava, commissioned by Fabio Roversi Monaco.
While the primary aim of the recording was to provide accurate data for condition monitoring, it will also facilitate new research into the figures, particularly with regard to their original positioning. In the current display, the terracotta figures are fixed to the ground, with visitors and scholars kept at a safe distance from the group. Learn more about the project
A film by Óscar Parasiego and Otto Lowe for Factum Foundation
This publication focuses on Factum Foundation's work to promote the use of high-resolution recording, digital restoration and creative re-materialisation while bringing into focus the changing attitudes towards owning, sharing, preserving and displaying cultural artefacts. It accompanies the exhibition 'La Riscoperta di un Capolavoro' (12 March - 28 June 2020, currently postponed) at Palazzo Fava, Bologna.