Panels recorded in the south and west wall of St Mark's Basilica in Venice © Factum Foundation
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 in Preservation Technology assisted Factum Foundation´s Pedro Miró and Otto Lowe in the high-resolution recording in 3D and colour of the marble panels from the south and west walls of the St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The surface of the so-called 'trophy wall' was digitised with photogrammetry as part of a research project about the aesthetics of marble.
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 façade, were traditionally associated with imperial sarcophagi.
More than five thousand photographs were taken of the two walls. 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.
Erik Sandell records a sculpture in the collection of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini © Factum Foundation
The students continued their training at the Institute of Art History at the Fondazione Cini. They recorded a selection of paintings, sculptures and architectural elements from the collection in 3D and colour. The foundation will use this information to monitor the condition of these artworks and for dissemination.
The students practised different recording techniques including scanning and photogrammetric photography. Factum Arte´s Carlos Bayod explained the uses and advantages of each recording system and demonstrated the applications and specificities of Manuel Franquelo´s Lucida 3D Scanner.
During the visit to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Adam Lowe explained the re-materialisation process of Veronese´s Wedding at Cana. The facsimile installed in its original location provided a unique opportunity for them to perceive and understand additional information about this work.
The visit underscored the role of technologies in digitizing and preserving heritage. The Fondazione Cini uses Factum Arte´s Replica 360 Recto/Verso Scanner for digitising its collection of manuscripts and books. Adam Lowe and Andrea Barbon described the advantages and applications of this system in recording and processing data.
Adam Lowe and Andrea Barbon demonstrating the uses of the Replica 360 Recto/Verso Scanner during a lesson at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini © Factum Foundation
After recording and training in Venice, the students travelled to Bologna to see the Polittico Griffoni installed within the Basilica of San Petronio. Factum Foundation reunited the dispersed panels of this masterpiece of the Bolognese Renaissance and returned them to its original location in the Basilica in the form of a perfect facsimile. The Polittico Griffoni was studied as an practical example of the uses of 3D data of a cultural object.
The students also recorded the Polittico Griffoni installed in the Basilica of San Petronio © Factum Foundation
The students within the Refectory, in front of Leonardo's Last Supper © Factum Foundation
The training continued in Milan at one of the city's main landmarks, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. The Refectory receives over a thousand visitors a day. Most of this masterpiece's surface has been restored over time and what remains of the original painting is in critical condition.
The students participated in a recording session at the Refectory led by Factum Arte´s Pedro Miró, Carlos Bayod and Otto Lowe. They digitised the walls of the Refectory using photogrammetry and high-resolution scanners, obtaining data for a virtual model that will serve as a basis for the preservation proposal and the potential digital restoration of certain areas of the artwork.