On 19th November, Michelle O’Malley from the Warburg Institute talked with Ana Debenedetti and Adam Lowe about the recording of Raphael’s Cartoons at the V&A in August 2019.
While the discussion focussed on Raphael, it also looked more generally at the role of digital recording in light of the museum closures and the restrictions caused by COVID-19. High-resolution recording, display and rematerialisation technologies have serious implications for the study, display and dissemination of works of art - both online and offline access will be increasingly important in providing access to culture.
The discussion is available at this link.
“My print shows the historic significance of Britain’s oldest manufacturing business, across the globe and as a part of the deep fabric of London’s culture and community.
From St Mary le Bow, Cheapside, whose peal famously bestows the status of ‘cockney’ and was broadcast across occupied Europe as a clarion of freedom and liberty during the war, the bells of the City churches ring out. Stories of famous bells, such as the Liberty Bell, are detailed around the border which is decorated with a bellringing diagram.
Beyond Big Ben and Great Tom, a map of the globe is dotted with locations of a few of the countless bells the Whitechapel Foundry has cast. Its history spans the reigns of twenty-seven monarchs. Elizabeth II is depicted on her 2009 visit to this celebrated Whitechapel institution, in existence since the reign of Elizabeth I.
‘Oranges & Lemons’ has been updated to sing out the threat to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, being ignominiously transformed into a boutique hotel with bell casting reduced to the production of souvenir handbells in the lobby espresso bar.”
— Adam Dant
Bryars and Bryars, an antiquarian bookshop in Cecil Court, London, presents a bell-themed window built around Adam Dant's print 'The Bells of Whitechapel' and the Pangolin Editions cast from the 3D scan of a 1722 Spanish bell. Adam Dant's print can be purchased at Tag Fine Arts and makes a beautiful Christmas present, with 50% of the profits going to pay the costs of the public inquiry into the future of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
On 24th October 2019, exact facsimiles of two lamassu statues (Assyrian protective deities in the form of human-headed winged lions) were presented at the University of Mosul by Factum Foundation and the British Museum, with the logistical support of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, the Iraqi Government and the financial support of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. The project was managed by Ali Aljuboori, the director of the centre for Assyrian studies at the University of Mosul.
In July 2019, Factum Foundation was invited to carry out two recordings at the British Museum’s Hirayama Studio – a specialist studio for the conservation of East Asian paintings, employing traditional East Asian scroll-mounting techniques combined with digital technology and contemporary approaches to cultural heritage conservation.
The Hirayama Studio were particularly interested in using 3D scanning to investigate the cut-gold leaf, or kirikane, used to decorate the figures’ garments on Amida sanson raigo zu, an exquisite 14th century Japanese scroll-painting. The Lucida 3D Scanner was able to record the reflective surface of the reflective surface, allowing conservators to see subtle relief patterns in detail.
A second object was also recorded: two panels from a 19th century Korean screen of pyeongsaeng-do (scenes of daily life) depicting successful stations in a man's life. The screen is of particular interest to conservators because it retained its original cotton mount. High-resolution 3D and colour data provided by Factum will serve above all as a precise record of the screen’s condition before conservation, but the recording and associated digital high-resolution viewer will be equally useful for the study of this unique painting in its original mount.
On the 6 October 2020 a planning inquiry commenced regarding the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 32-34 Whitechapel Road, 2 Fieldgate Street and land to the rear (planning application reference numbers PA/19/00008 and PA/19/00009).
Your support and online presence are more than ever needed: this is the chance to make your voice heard and prevent the Whitechapel Bell Foundry from becoming a boutique-hotel, based on the model of Soho House.
If you want to get in touch with the inspectorate with further questions, to make a written statement or ask to speak on the 27 October – when the public inquiry is open to third parties to contribute – please contact the Government’s Planning Inspectorate at Elizabeth.Humphrey@planninginspectorate.gov.uk
For media enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and your email will be forwarded to Re-Form's communications partner.
Factum Foundation for the V&A and Royal Collection Trust
In August 2019, a team of 3D-scanning and photography specialists from Factum Foundation carried out the recording of the Raphael Cartoons at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The seven Cartoons, lent to the V&A from the Royal Collection by Her Majesty The Queen, were recorded at high resolution in 3D, colour and infrared: this digitisation project is by far one of Factum Foundation’s most ambitious to date.
Over the course of several months, the digital information captured on-site was processed in the Foundation’s studio in Madrid to create a multi-layered browser of the painting: this online tool enables the visualisation of the 3D scanned surface, as well as the colour and infra-red data. Through this online platform, it is possible to move around the scanned surfaces and zoom in at macro-level photographic data with a resolution of 400 dpi on a scale of 1:1, from any computer or mobile screen. The tool developed by Factum after years of testing and improvement allows everyone, from museum conservators to the general public, to study in great detail the materiality of the recorded artworks.
Important: the re-opening of the Raphael Court has been postponed until further notice. We will keep you updated on any further announcements from the V&A.
Factum Foundation is honoured to have carried out the recording of Caravaggio’s Burial of St. Lucy in the Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, Syracuse, between 24th and 30th June 2020. The equipment was then shipped to Seville for a major project related to the Spanish Golden Age.
An exact facsimile was created by Factum Arte for the exhibition 'Caravaggio. Il Contemporaneo - In dialogo con Burri and Pasolini' at Mart Rovereto (October 9th 2020 - February 14th 2021), where the original is now on display among a selection of contemporary works and photographs, encouraging new conversations and emphasising Caravaggio's spiritual relevance.
Adam Lowe, founder of Factum Foundation, guides you through The Materiality of the Aura. New Technologies for Preservation, at Palazzo Fava, Bologna (temporarily closed).
Facsimiles of sculptures, paintings and books, digital restorations and physical recreations, 3D renders, 3D models and a variety of objects are presented in the six rooms of the exhibition, focussing on: the surface of paintings, sculptures, cartography, video-mapping and projections, manuscripts and, finally, Factum Foundation's work in the Valley of the Kings. The city of Bologna, where the Foundation has been involved in projects since 2010, is also a unifying factor tying together many of the rooms.
Watch on Vimeo
Contra is a not-for-profit annual magazine and arts organisation that explores the complex relationship between visual culture and conflict. The third issue of the magazine will feature the work of Factum Foundation with the Wauja community in recreating the sacred cave of Kamukuwaká, which was vandalised in 2018.
An online discussion retraced the steps of this project, which was completed a year ago. The importance of preserving cultural heritage in the face of iconoclastic vandalism is now more important than ever. Representatives of the Wauja community, People's Palace Projects and Factum Foundation talked about the impact of the 3D physical reconstruction a year later, and also about the impact of Covid-19 on indigenous communities in Mato Grosso.
After an intensive summer of recording at Wilton House, Ortigia island in Syracuse, the Hospital de la Caridad, the Queen's Gallery, Apsley House and the scanning of various privately-owned works of art, several of the Lucida 3D Scanners are back for servicing.
This system, or a variant of it, has been in use at Factum for 20 years. Conceived and developed by artist and engineer Manuel Franquelo with Factum Arte, the Lucida 3D Scanner still is the only system to date that can record the surface of entire paintings at a resolution that is meaningful for replication.
Over the past months, there has been a vast amount of interest in Factum Foundation's scanning of paintings - with Coronavirus and social distancing, blockbuster shows of originals, requiring large visitor numbers to justify costs, are out. The exact facsimile of the Raphael Cartoon The Sacrifice at Lystra, part of the show 'Raffaello 1520 - 1483' at the Scuderie de Quirinale, is establishing a new approach:
'Technology, provided again by Factum Arte, enables the juxtaposition of a facsimile of Raphael’s cartoon of the Sacrifice at Lystra (around 1515-16) with the respective Vatican tapestry. The educational impact for the general public is indisputable; now scholars have to face the challenge of inserting these new tools into their research and exploiting their potential, before they are once more outwitted by commercial applications.
The exhibition implicitly urges collaborations beyond the borders of museums and disciplines.’
Arnold Nesselrath, The Big Review: Raphael at the Scuderie del Quirinale
The Art Newspaper, August 2020
Launched by the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt, Factum Foundation and the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative
In July 2020, Factum Foundation, the TNPI and Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities are launching the 3D virtual model of the tomb of Seti I. It is a work in progress but when finished it will be a complete record of the tomb from the time it was discovered to the moment at which recording ends.
The 3D virtual model is based on a LiDAR recording of the whole tomb, but it also includes high-resolution information that will continue to be fed into the platform as the work progresses. We are not only recording all the walls, pillars and ceilings but also all the elements that were removed from the tomb and are now scattered around the world in museums, store-rooms and private collections.
The platform works like a dynamic archive of the tomb that can allow closer study than is possible during a visit. By layering colour and 3D data, the walls can be seen at high magnification and the spectacular ceiling in the Sarcophagus Room can be studied as if you were on scaffolding with the painting in front of your nose.
But we are going further: the aim is to incorporate into the platform the watercolours made by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, the Egyptologist who discovered the tomb in 1817 (now in Bristol City Museum), Harry Burton’s black and white photographs from the 1920s (commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum in New York) and approximately 8,000 fragments from the tomb of Seti I, collected by the University of Basel, that are now stored in the tomb of Ramesses X and being analysed and relocated by Florence Mauric Barberio.
We have also incorporated the 3D recordings made by Factum Arte in the Sarcophagus Room in 2001, clearly establishing the importance of this approach for condition monitoring.
In July 2020, a team of experts from Factum Foundation travelled to Seville to record two paintings by Valdés Leal: In Ictu Oculi and Finis Gloriae Mundi. This was done in collaboration with the Real Hermandad de la Santa Caridad de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, in the Church of San Jorge.
The high-resolution recording in 3D and colour was carried out with the aim of rematerialising and disseminating the importance of both paintings by Valdés Leal, in the form of exact facsimiles which will be made at Factum's workshops.
2022 will also be the 400th anniversary of the birth of the major Spanish Baroque painter. After a previous collaboration on two of Murillo's masterpieces in 2018, Factum Foundation and the Real Hermandad de la Santa Caridad are looking into collaborating with key international institutions which are dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of Spanish Art, with the aim of celebrating the importance of La Caridad's unique artistic and cultural assets.
From 6th to 17th July, a team from Factum Foundation was in Venice to carry out the recording of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Working with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Iconem, the aim was to record the entire island using several recording methods such as aerial and ground-based photogrammetry and LiDAR recording.
This initiative will serve as a pilot project to record the whole of Venice. Factum Foundation and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini have been working together since 2006 and launched ARCHiVe (Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice) in 2018.
On 9th July, Factum Foundation’s recreation of Raphael’s Christ Falls on the Route to Cavalry, nicknamed Lo Spasimo di Sicilia, was installed in the monastery of Santa Maria dello Spasimo in Palermo, where the painting hung until the middle of the 16th century.
The original painting by Raphael, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, was transferred from a wooden panel onto a canvas after being taken to Paris by Napoleon, during the Spanish War of Independence. Factum Foundation addressed this fact with the recreation of the painting on a rigid panel, in order to install it into its original frame in its original location in Palermo.
The return of Lo Spasimo to Palermo coincides with the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death. It also coincides with a series of high-resolution recording, facsimile and recreation projects by Factum Foundation, as well as several exhibitions and a publication about the role of new technologies for the preservation, sharing and understanding of cultural heritage.
The Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative's team and Factum Foundation are glad to announce that work has restarted in the Valley of the Kings, after the shutdown imposed by the COVID-19 crisis. After more than 100 days of interruption, the TNPI team is the first mission to resume work and will pursue the high- resolution recording in 3D and colour of the entire tomb of Seti I. The Burial Chamber and Corridor G will be the main points of focus for the next days. This was made possible with the support of the Ministry of Antiquities.
In line with the Ministry of Antiquities' COVID-19 safety measures, the team returns at a 25% of workforce: Aliaa Ismail, Abdo Ghaba, Mosa El-Sayed and the appointed inspector Mohamed Wahba are keen on resuming this ambitious project and on completing the recording of the entire site.
Recording and rematerialising the whole of the tomb of Seti I and all known scattered fragments is the current main goal of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative, mainly funded by the Factum Foundation with the generous help of international donors. We would like to thank the following individuals and entities for their constant support: his Excellency the Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled Anany, the Secretary General of the Supreme council of Antiquities Dr. Mostafa Waziri, the permanent committees of the Ministry of Antiquities, Dr. Mohamed Abd El-Badee, Dr. Nashwa Gaber, Director of Upper Egyptian Antiquity Dr. Mohamed Yehia, Director of West Bank Antiquity Dr. Fathy Yassin, the Director of West Bank Missions Dr. Ramadan, Director of the Valley of Kings Mr. Aly Reda. Furthermore, the TNPI team thanks the staff and the guards, who have welcomed and encouraged their return on-site.
Working in collaboration with Seville's Archivo Histórico Provincial, Parroquia de San Pedro and Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, a team from Factum Foundation recorded in high resolution a selection of documents related to Diego Velázquez' life. Exact reproductions of these documents, in addition to facsimiles of paintings and recreations of the objects that appear in them, will become part of the permanent exhibition itinerary of the Casa Natal de Velázquez, due to open in 2021.
Thanks to digital technology, this collection of unique objects will help putting in context the artist's early years in Seville. The documents include Velázquez's certificate of baptism, his contract of apprenticeship under Francisco Pacheco and his official certificate of acceptance into the guild of painters.
On the 4th and 5th February 2020, a team from Factum Foundation carried out the high-resolution digitisation in 3D and colour of An Old Woman Cooking Eggs at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh. In this video, Aidan Weston-Lewis, chief curator at National Galleries of Scotland, and Enrique Bocanegra, director of the Casa Natal de Velázquez, talk about the importance and relevance of this collaboration and the potential for digital technologies to recover Velázquez’ legacy, as part of a wider collaboration with CEEH (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica).
A film by Óscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation
Before the shutdown of museums in the UK, a team from Factum Foundation was in the process of recording Anthony van Dyck's Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke, with his Family held at Wilton House, near Salisbury.
Through a high-resolution recording in 3D and colour, it will be possible to generate an archive of the painting's surface as a resource for conservation, study and dissemination purposes. The data, which will belong to the owner of the painting, could also be used to make an exact facsimile of the painting if required in the future.
The colour recording of the painting was completed in March employing panoramic composite photography, and the recording of the surface relief using the Lucida 3D Scanner has been carried out from July 6th to 23rd. We hope that this major project will be the first of many digital preservation initiatives involving English Heritage.