Young Knight in a Landscape

Vittore Carpaccio
Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid
May 2021

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The original painting on display in Room 11 of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, undergoing cleaning and restoration © Hélène Despléchin

Working with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Factum Foundation recorded the Young Knight in a Landscape (1510) by Vittore Carpaccio. The painting is one of the most celebrated works in the museum’s collection and, if considered a portrait, is the first known example in which the sitter is depicted full-length in Western painting.

The Young Knight underwent a cleaning and restoration process that formed part of the exhibition ‘Carpaccio’s Knight: Restoration and technical study’ (17 May - 1 November 2021). The Thyssen-Bornemizsa’s conservation team showed great interest in pushing the analysis of the painting further using Factum’s high-resolution recording methods, and the Young Knight in a Landscape was digistised in 3D and colour in May 2021, along with its frame.

The surface and colour data were merged by a team of 2D and 3D specialists in Factum’s studios into a 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 was handed over to the museum’s team and serves as a point of reference for any future analysis and research, while the museum retains full ownership of the data recorded by Factum Foundation. 

The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of Young Knight in a Landscape © Gabriel Scarpa for Factum Foundation

The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of Young Knight in a Landscape © Gabriel Scarpa for Factum Foundation

Hidden flowers and hidden colours

Botanologist Eduardo Barba then worked with Factum Foundation's Eduardo López proposing a digital restoration of the colour of the yellow irises on the bottom left side of the painting. The opacity and colour of the pigment have been lost due to oxidisation and previous restoration attempts. Digital restoration using non-contact technology was able to reveal new layers of information without imposing on the original. As the yellow irises reappear, the spatial complexity is transformed.

Detail of the original area with the irises

Digital restoration by Factum Foundation's Eduardo Lopez


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