For the exhibition ‘L’immagine sovrana. Urbano VIII e i Barberini’, Factum Foundation has produced a 1:1 facsimile of the San Sebastian (1615) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, to be part of the display at Palazzo Barberini in Rome from March 17th until July 30th 2023. The original sculpture, belonging to a private collection and on long-term loan to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, was recorded in high resolution in September 2022 using a structured white light scanner and photogrammetry.
After processing the digital data into a 3D model, the sculpture was 3D printed and the mould was cast in gesso and marble powder in Madrid. This was then hand-finished by Factum Arte’s experts in sculpture, creating a perfect visual copy which captures the distinctive, ethereally smooth surface that Bernini is known for.
As always, the digital data continues to play an important part in preserving the original through the accurate record of the surface of the sculpture for condition report.
The exhibition at the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini as Pope Urban VIII. A great patron of arts, his 21 years as Head of the Catholic Church (1623-1644) deeply transformed Rome’s cultural and architectonic landscape. This included a long and continued support of Bernini, of which the commission of the San Sebastian is an example. The sculpture was likely made for a private chapel dedicated to San Sebastian inside the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome.
Details of the final facsimile © Adam Lowe