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AI, Tech Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution: an international symposium in Toledo
AI, Tech Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution: an international symposium in Toledo

Adam Lowe, Founder of Factum Foundation will be taking part in an international symposium on the role of advanced technologies in conflict and peacebuilding contexts, to be held in Toledo on 18th and 19th June 2021. Organised by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the Instituto de Resolución de Conflictos de la Universidad de Castilla-La Macha in collaboration with Factum Foundation, CITPax and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the symposium is the first of many efforts to redefine the role of cultural heritage as a tool to facilitate mediation and conflict resolution mechanisms. Adam Lowe will be presenting a special angle on the multifaceted issue, focusing on the role of AI and machine learning applied to cultural heritage.
© UCLM


Latest Article: <i>Interview: Factum Foundation’s Ferdinand Saumarez Smith on Preserving the Bakor Monoliths</i>
Latest Article: Interview: Factum Foundation’s Ferdinand Saumarez Smith on Preserving the Bakor Monoliths

Kate Fitz Gibbon from Cultural Property News interviewed Factum Foundation's Ferdinand Saumarez Smith on the challenge to identify and preserve the Bakor Monoliths, and on the projects on rock art carried out by the Foundation. "The trips we have done over the past five years have really been about documentation and dialogue. [...] We’ve brought skills and technology to the table which can make “first-aid” records. And we’ve tried to make it sustainable by offering 3D-documentation training and providing equipment like drones. But that has to go hand in hand with talking to the communities, because at the end of the day, they are going to be the people who preserve them long-term."
Read the full interview on Cultural Property News


Secretary of State permits boutique hotel on historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry site
Secretary of State permits boutique hotel on historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry site

It is with great sadness that we announce the outcome of the Planning Inquiry around the Church Bell Foundry in Whitechapel. Our sadness is really focused on the values that lie behind the decision. Consent has been granted to turn London´s oldest company, founded in 1570 and working until 2017, into a hotel, several restaurants, bars and a private members club.

Over four years of fighting, we have built a movement of like-minded people. With the help of Grayson Perry and other artists, we are now going to demonstrate how new markets for bells will celebrate the vital role they play within the public imagination. Factum Foundation would like to thank everyone who has done so much to support the revitalisation of the foundry.

Read Adam Lowe's full public statement

Photo © John Claridge


Recording the <i>Young Knight in a Landscape</i> in the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum
Recording the Young Knight in a Landscape in the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum

As part of a new collaboration between the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Factum Foundation, our experts just completed the recording of the Young Knight in a Landscape (1510) by Vittore Carpaccio, painter of the Venetian School. The painting, one of the most celebrated works in the museum’s collection, underwent a cleaning and restoration process and will form part of the exhibition ‘Carpaccio’s Knight: Restoration and technical study’ (17 May - 1 November 2021). If considered a portrait, the painting is the first known example in Western painting in which the sitter is depicted full-length.

Working closely with the Thyssen-Bornemizsa’s conservation team, who showed great interest in pushing the analysis of the painting further using Factum’s high-resolution recording methods, the Young Knight in a Landscape was digistised in 3D and colour in May 2021, along with its frame. The surface and colour data are in the process of being merged by a team of 2D and 3D specialists in Factum’s studios.

This will result in the production of a digital multi-layered viewer, which will act as a ‘digital passport’ of Carpaccio’s painting, providing information on its material state at the highest degree of accuracy. The dataset will be handed over to the museum’s team and will serve as a point of reference for any current and future analysis and research, while the museum will retain full ownership of the data recorded by Factum Foundation.

More on this project


<i>Polittico Griffoni</i> facsimile installed in Bologna
Polittico Griffoni facsimile installed in Bologna

After the closing of the exhibition 'La riscoperta di un capolavoro' at Palazzo Fava, the facsimile of the Polittico Griffoni remained in the city of Bologna and was installed in Palazzo Pepoli. It will also return to the Basilica of San Petronio on the occasion of the city's patron saint day, in the Griffoni chapel for which the original was produced between 1471 and 1472, before it was removed in 1725, when the chapel was re-dedicated to the Aldrovandi family.

The project to record and replicate all the known panels, between 2012 and 2018, started as an initiative to return one of the masterpieces of the Bolognese Renaissance to the city. In October 2017, facsimiles of the sixteen panels were given to the Basilica of San Petronio. The exhibition organised in collaboration with Fabio Roversi Monaco and Genus Bononiae. Musei nella città was an extraordinary occasion to enable the reappraisal of the Renaissance altarpiece and to demonstrate how new technologies can help raise questions about originality and authenticity, offering new developments in curation and exhibition designs.

Photo © Paolo Righi per Genus Bononiae. Musei nella città.


The Raphael Cartoons at the V&A: the digital content is now available
The Raphael Cartoons at the V&A: the digital content is now available

On January 25 2021, the V&A launched a new online platform where the data from the Raphael Cartoons, recorded by Factum Foundation in high-resolution 3D, colour and infrared, was made available to the public for the first time. Through a new digital environment on the V&A’s website, users are now able to engage with the Cartoons in new ways and at an unprecedented level of detail. The dataset from the recording, which was supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, is accessible through a high-resolution multi-layer viewer where both the surface, colour and infrared information can be explored, ​with different datasets viewable either merged or separated out.

The refurbished Raphael Court will reopen to visitors when the museum reopened on 19 May 2021.


Adam Lowe on Benvenuto Cellini's <i>Crucifixion</i>
Adam Lowe on Benvenuto Cellini's Crucifixion

In his podcast 'Blood and Bronze' on BBC Radio, Jerry Brotton reveals how the Renaissance was a time of conflict as well as beauty, creativity and tyranny, by retracing the life of Benvenuto Cellini through his autobiography.

In episode 9, Adam Lowe, founder of Factum Foundation, visits the Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial to talk about Cellini's Crucifixion, thanks to the collaboration of Patrimonio Nacional.

Listen to the podcast on BBC Radio 3


Reuniting a painting by Carpaccio
Reuniting a painting by Carpaccio

Factum Foundation has initiated an ambitious project involving the use of digital technologies for recording and re-materialisation of a divided panel painting by Carpaccio – the aim is to reunify the panels and analyse the missing area.

The painting known as Two Venetian Ladies (c. 1490), located at the Museo Correr in Venice, is the lower half of a larger panel that was cut down, possibly on each side and in the middle. The upper half being Hunting on the Lagoon, is at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, and the recording is currently under discussion. The panel at the Museo Correr was recorded in November 2020 with the assistance of Arteria. The panel was taken out of its protective case and placed on an easel before recording it using the Lucida 3D Scanner and composite photography. The data was processed in ARCHiVe.


New video: Digitising the sepulchre of Cardinal Tavera

The project involving the recording and replication of the sepulchre of Cardinal Tavera is a collaboration between Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli, The Auckland Project and Factum Foundation. In May 2018, a team from Factum Foundation carried out the digitisation of the sepulchre in Toledo. Three complementary systems were used: photogrammetry, a structured white light scanner and LiDAR. The data was processed and merged together to form a high-resolution digital archive. It was then re-materialised using 3D printing and CNC milling. The results were then thoroughly worked on by the workshop team, moulded and cast in a resin simulating the qualities of the original marble.
© a video by Óscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation


Recording the <i>Glosas Emilianenses</i> at the Real Academia de la Historia
Recording the Glosas Emilianenses at the Real Academia de la Historia

Factum Foundation is working with the Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla on the digitisation of the Glosas Emilianenses, in Madrid’s Real Academia de la Historia. The glossa (annotations) in the Codex Aemilianensis 60 manuscript are considered to be the earliest surviving Castilian-language text. During the first week of April, Factum Foundation recorded several pages of the Glosas Emilianenses in high resolution, photographing the colour and using the Lucida 3D Scanner for the surface. The aim of the project is to enable further philological investigation into the parts that, until now, have been proving more difficult to read.

Since the creation of Factum Foundation, the preservation of manuscripts has played an important part of our digitisation initiatives, from the recording of the Beato de Liébana at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid to the world-class archive of more than 3000 Islamic manuscripts in Dagestan. This area of activity has also led Factum Arte’s technical and software engineering departments to develop several recording systems exclusively focussed on the recording of manuscripts, such as the photographic manuscript scanner or the portable manuscript scanner.

More on the project


The <B>A</B>ALTO<B>S</B>IILO Project
The AALTOSIILO Project

Factum Foundation’s new project is the restoration and reuse of the Silo at the Toppila Pulp Mill (on the left of this image). Alvar and Aino Aalto's Silo was a woodchip store in a cellulose factory close to Oulu city centre, just south of the Arctic Circle.

We are working on ways to reuse the Silo as a creative research centre focused on the documentation of industrial buildings in northern Europe, on innovative technologies to record environmental change and research into sustainable materials including cellulose.

We are starting to assemble a group of friends of the AALTOSIILO project.
If you are interested in being part of this dynamic and rapidly-developing project please contact us at info@factumfoundation.org.


Recording and facsimile project for the Benaki Museum
Recording and facsimile project for the Benaki Museum

In honour of the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Greek State, the Rothschild Foundation has commissioned a facsimile of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of John Capodistria, painted at the Congress of Vienna in 1818-19. The painting normally hangs in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle, and forms part of the Royal Collection, and sits in the company of other major figures who participated in the remoulding of post-Napoleonic Europe.

With the generous collaboration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Collection, the portrait of John, Count Capo d'Istria (1776-1831) was recorded on 11th-12th and 19th August 2020 by a team from Factum Foundation at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, where it formed part of the Royal Collection exhibition ‘George IV Art and Spectacle’. It was then re-materialised as a facsimile in Factum Arte’s Madrid studios.

The facsimile will be presented in an early nineteenth-century English gilt frame and will be included in the exhibition ‘1821 Before and After’ at the Benaki Museum in Athens (dates to be announced).

More on the project


Factum Foundation and RCU: current progress on recording Nabataean heritage in AlUla
Factum Foundation and RCU: current progress on recording Nabataean heritage in AlUla

Factum Foundation’s team is currently finishing the ground recording of the Nabataean heritage site of Hegra and the Dadanite site of Dadan, expecting to soon move to Jabal Ikmah and Abu Ud. Commissioned by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), this work is the largest high-resolution 3D recording project carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is aimed at producing 3D models that will prove essential for the dissemination, condition monitoring and conservation of the heritage landmarks and cultural legacy of the Nabataean, Dadanite and Lihyanite cultures in and around the AlUla oasis.

More on the project


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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