The 'trophy wall' of St. Mark's Basilica

Venice, 2017

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The Venetian concept of time and its own mythology is as liquid as the city itself.
Its history was rewritten infinite times as it grew into an imperial power. Time itself was plundered to reinforce the Venetian narrative. Cities were invaded and spolia used to create a civic identity with instant historic resonance and physical authority.


- Adam Lowe and Charlotte Skene Catling (editors), The Basilica di San Marco and the Venetian concept of time 
'Domus', n.1021, february 2018
Read the full article here

In October 2017, students from Columbia University´s graduate course Preservation Technology assisted Factum Foundation´s Pedro Miró and Otto Lowe with the high-resolution in 3D and colour of the marble panels from the south and west walls of the Basilica di San Marco, in Venice, also known as the 'trophy wall'. This complex surface was digitized with photogrammetry and composite colour photography as part of a research project about the aesthetics of marble. More than five thousand photographs were taken of the two walls.

Detail of the panels recorded

Otto Lowe recording with photogrammetry St, Mark's Basilica in Venice

Students carried out photogrammetric recording of the marble © Otto Lowe. Courtesy of Fondazione Giorgio Cini

Students carried out photogrammetric recording of the marble © Otto Lowe. Courtesy of Fondazione Giorgio Cini

Students carried out photogrammetric recording of the marble © Otto Lowe. Courtesy of Fondazione Giorgio Cini

The marbles add a symbolic layer of meaning to the facade of St Mark Basilica. The slabs, formed with materials taken from Constantinople, were positioned to draw attention and significance to their location. Each colour carried political or liturgical connotations that visitors could recognize within the interior and the exterior of the space. For instance, green, black and white marbles, used to cover slabs and column shafts of the facade were traditionally associated with imperial sarcophagi.

Processing the data

This complex surface was digitized with photogrammetry as part of a research project about the aesthetics of marble. More than five thousand photographs were taken of the two walls.

The images recorded in St Mark's Square in Venice were processed using Capturing Reality

The images recorded in St Mark's Square in Venice were processed using Capturing Reality

The images were processed using Capturing Reality software to focus on the relief with and without the colour information. The samples below offer both sets of information.

Renders of the relief information (left) and of the colour and relief information combined (right) of one of the marbles

Renders of the relief information (left) and of the colour and relief information combined (right) of one of the marbles

Render of the color and relief information combined of one panel

Render of the relief information of the same marble

3D render of the colour and relief information recorded by GSAPP student Andre Paul Jauregui at Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice

3D render of the relief information recorded by GSAPP student Andre Paul Jauregui at Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice

3D render of the colour and relief information recorded by GSAPP student Halley E. Ramos at Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice

3D render of the relief information recorded by GSAPP student Halley E. Ramos at Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice


 

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