Recording 15th-century tapestries in the Giorgio Cini Collection

2022

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The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of the tapestry © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

ARCHiVe has completed the first high-resolution digital recording of one of the great tapestries owned by the Giorgio Cini collection: The Entry into Palestine of the Army of Vespasian. Dated between 1470 and 1480, this Franco-Flemish tapestry created from cartoons by the Master of Coëtivy, is one of the two earliest and most significant works in the whole collection, and part of a series about the destruction of Jerusalem. 
The tapestry was recently identified as the right half of another textile work within the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Lyon, making its recording, conservation and restoration a priority for the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

The digital documentation of the tapestry's surface is an essential step towards understanding its material structure. ARCHiVe carried out the complete documentation of the tapestry's shape, texture and colour, thanks to a combination of 3D and 2D non-contact scanning technology - specifically developed for the field of art and cultural heritage.

Over a period of three weeks in March 2022, a team from Factum Foundation in collaboration with the Giorgio Cini Foundation obtained 3D data of the full tapestry's front side with a spatial resolution of 100 microns (or 10,000 points/cm2) as well as colour information of both front and back with a resolution around 500 dpi at 1:1 scale. This highly-detailed information will allow looking at the tapestry's surface under a new light, unearthing aspects that are usually ignored.

Thanks to the 3D information it will be possible to generate shaded renders to visualise the topography of the fabric without the colour, so the variations in texture and depth can be better understood, measured and analysed. The relief data was obtained with Factum Foundation's Lucida 3D Scanner, a system specifically designed for capturing the surface of paintings and other low-relief objects - and part of ARCHiVe's permanent equipment. The colour information was acquired through composite photography. The layer of the colour will then be registered onto the layer of the relief, in order to create a multi-layered file through which it will be possible to explore this unique surface online, from any device. This will serve to experts, scholars and the general public to appreciate this work of art as never before. The obtained digital data can also be used in the future for an eventual facsimile reproduction, among other applications. 

The digitisation of this tapestry is part of the ongoing project of documenting in 3D the whole island of San Giorgio, from the exterior of its buildings to the interiors and objects contained in them. This ambitious, multi-scale project intends to demonstrate the importance of digital documentation as an active tool to preserve Venice's cultural heritage, and potentially be applied to a global scope. 

The ARCHiVe team unrolling the tapestry © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

Setting up the Lucida 3D Scanner © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of the tapestry © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of the tapestry © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

Detail of the tapestry © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

Carlos Bayod Lucini operating the Lucida 3D Scanner to record the surface of the tapestry © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

Detail of the Lucida 3D Scanner custom software creating a shaded render of the 3D data © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation

Detail of the Lucida 3D Scanner recording © Oscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation


Recording team: Carlos Bayod, Osama Dawod, Teresa Casado and Carolina Gris. 

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