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Digitising Islamic Manuscripts in Dagestan, (2015-present)
Digitising Islamic Manuscripts in Dagestan, (2015-present)

The manuscript digitisation project at the IHAE in Dagestan has led to the discovery of a palimpsest with a 6th century Gospel of Luke. The original text was in the ancient Georgian script Asomtavruli written underneath a later Arabic text. It is one of only ten such manuscripts known to exist. Digitisation opens new avenues in scholarship ­– in this case, the high-resolution images of the palimpsest have been handed over to a Georgian specialist who continues the investigation into this unique object.

Since 2016, Factum Foundation has provided equipment, hardware, software and technical support to the IHAE’s Scanning Lab. This was done in collaboration with the Ziyavudin Magomedov PERI Charitable Foundation (Moscow, Makhachkala) and the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage (Dubai).

The idea behind this digitisation project is to make the archive of over 3000 manuscripts digitally available at IHAE to specialists around the world, eventually also by recording some of over 25,000 manuscripts that are known to be held in private Dagestani collections. The availability of this archive online will widen the scope of research into the history, languages and religions of the Caucasus.

Factum Foundation is in currently looking for additional funds to continue this important manuscript digitisation effort in Dagestan.

Read more about the progress of the digitisation here.

Support this project by clicking on this link


Scanning the <i>Mappa Turchesca</i>
Scanning the Mappa Turchesca

Factum Foundation has recorded the cherry-wood printing blocks (matrices) of the 16th-century “Mappa Turchesca”, in an ARCHiVe project undertaken together with two students from the Università Iuav di Venezia (IUAV). The heart-shaped map, now in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, has text in both Arabic and Ottoman Turkish, and was probably designed by Venetian cartographers for sale to Ottoman buyers. The recording will allow damaged portions of the map to be digitally restored and printed in 3D.

Mario Costa and Fabio Martinello, who have interned at ARCHiVe in Venice and Factum Foundation in Madrid, conducted comparative tests between different recording techniques: photogrammetry, laser scanning, and Factum’s Lucida scanner. They determined that the most accurate data was that provided by the Lucida scanner. Having scanned the map with Factum’s help, they will process this data to digitally restore the matrices, allowing the creation of digital and physical versions without the marks of decay which make it hard to decipher the surface of the original.

While the Ottoman Turkish text around the map claims that it is the work of a slave from Tunis called Hajji Ahmed, the distinctively European heart shape and several errors in the Ottoman Turkish and in the Arabic used for the place-names make it likely that the map was a fully Venetian production – albeit an extraordinary testament to the complex ways links between Venetian and Ottoman empires in a period of great trans-Mediterranean trade and connectivity.

More details on the recording process can be found here.


Canova's Equestrian Statue
Canova's Equestrian Statue

Following the success of the maquette recording of Canova's equestrian statue at the Museo Civico di Bassano del Grappa and under the initiative of Chiara Casarin, the director of the museum, Factum Foundation embarked on a much more ambitious project: to create a digital model of the horse from a 3-metre equestrian statue of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, the plaster prototype for which was made by Canova shortly before his death and finished - with many alterations - by his pupil Antonio Calì in 1827. Until the 1950s, the plaster sculpture was a focal point of the museum’s collection, but it was subsequently broken up to allow for the construction of a new lecture hall, with the parts stored in a local palazzo.

Most sections of the statue were scanned using a Breuckmann white light scanner, while fragments which required more complex surface mapping, such as the head and tail, were recorded using photogrammetry. The entire scanning project took two weeks.

Back in Madrid, the processed data was used to digitally restore the horse from the various fragments. To get an idea of how the pieces fit together, scaled versions were 3D printed and assembled manually. Once it was known how the pieces fitted together, the parts were reassembled digitally to create a 3D model. The model was 3D printed to allow the rematerialisation of the horse at a scale of 1:10, cast in bronze.


Digitising Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Digitising Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

In 2017, Factum Foundation documented two paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo at the Hermandad de la Santa Caridad in Seville: the Miracle of the multiplication of the bread and fishes and Moses and the water from the rock of Horeb. The paintings, which had been removed from their usual locations high up on the walls of the Hermandad for conservation by the Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico (IAPH), were recorded using the Lucida scanner and composite photography, whilst their frames were recorded using photogrammetry.

High resolution colour reproductions have been made from the data at a 1:1 scale; these will be displayed in the Hermandad de la Santa Caridad in a setting which will allow visitors to examine these magnificent works at close range.

Further information on the project can be found here.


Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry

Find out more about the processes behind photogrammetry: the 3D recording technique at the heart of many of Factum Foundation's projects.

Involving taking hundreds of overlapping photographs of an object from many different angles and processing them using specialised software, photogrammetry produces geometrically precise, but also highly detailed, 3D models of artworks and artefacts.


Francesco Salviati’s ceiling at the Palazzo Grimani, Venice
Francesco Salviati’s ceiling at the Palazzo Grimani, Venice

A sixteenth-century painted ceiling will be returned to the Palazzo Grimani in Venice in the form of a facsimile made by Factum Foundation. The ceiling, now in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, was painted by Giuseppe Porta, also known as Giuseppe Salviati and shows the dispute between Minerva and Neptune. Factum has recorded both the ceiling itself and the oval space which it once occupied, and will use this data to ensure that the final facsimile still fits into this original context.

The painting was commissioned for the Vestibolo della Tribuna in the Palazzo Grimani, and executed around 1565. In the late nineteenth-century it was sold, and some years later entered the collection which was to form the basis of the Musée Jacquemart-André.

As the painting is fixed to a ceiling in the Musée Jacquemart-André and could not be recorded using the Lucida 3D scanner, Factum Foundation used panoramic photography and photogrammetry to scan the work. The original oval ceiling in the Palazzo Grimani was also recorded, this time using a FARO scanner, to ensure that the eventual facsimile would fit into a space whose contours have changed over the course of a century.

Find out more.


Rembrandt's 'Portrait of an Old Man'
Rembrandt's 'Portrait of an Old Man'

Factum Foundation has collaborated with Canon Production Printing (previously Océ - A Canon Company) and the Mauritshuis Museum in the recording and reproduction of Rembrandt's Portrait of an Elderly Man (1667).

With 2019 marking the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Master's death, we are joining efforts to demonstrate how new technologies for non-contact digitisation and elevated printing can contribute to the preservation, study and dissemination of one of the artist's most notable works.

This project consisted of recording the original painting's relief and colour, carried out by a Factum Foundation team in The Hague. Both data sets were then used by Canon Production Printing to create an exact 3D reproduction. More information on this process can be found here, whilst the high-resolution scan of the painting can be viewed in detail on our homepage.


'The Ladies Waldegrave', Sir Joshua Reynolds (1780)
'The Ladies Waldegrave', Sir Joshua Reynolds (1780)

Factum Foundation recorded the painting in the galleries of the Scottish National Gallery with the canvas unframed and mounted on an easel to facilitate the work. The central section of the canvas was recorded with the Lucida scanner to obtain a high resolution model of the surface texture, and the entire surface was recorded using photogrammetry.

The use of both technologies was a strategy which combined the respective advantages of each method: close correspondence to surface texture and speed in the capture process. The painting’s frame was recorded using photogrammetry. The exact facsimiles of the painting and the frame will be sent to Strawberry Hill House in the next few days, as part of Factum's ongoing effort to recreate the original splendor of Walpole's home and collection.

Another project recently carried out is the digitisation and production of an exact facsimile of Wenzel Jamnitzer's bell.


Art UK Sculpture launch
Art UK Sculpture launch

Factum Foundation is collaborating with Art UK in their endeavour to catalogue the UK’s national sculpture collection. Although the cataloguing is primarily focused on the photographic documentation of approximately 170,000 works, Factum Foundation’s involvement will see this expanded to include specific 3D documentation projects as well.

Towards this end, in November 2018 three photographers from Art UK visited Madrid to receive photogrammetry training over a five-day period. During this time, the trainees were instructed in how to record and process 3D data. The next stage of the project will be to conduct a joint recording project in the UK with a team from Factum Foundation working with the trainees to document sculptures.

Their current database can be found on the Art UK website here.


The 'Virgen de las Nieves' of La Palma
The 'Virgen de las Nieves' of La Palma

In February 2019, the facsimile of a terracotta icon of the ‘Virgin de las Nieves’ produced by Factum Arte, alongside a protective shell for the original, was officially inaugurated and presented by the governing council to the people of La Palma, the most north-westerly island of the Canary archipelago. Every five years, this small figure of the Virgin Mary is at the centre of the Fiestas Lustrales de la Bajada, a deeply traditional celebration involving the island’s patron saint being taken from its display as the Royal Sanctuary’s altar centrepiece into the capital Santa Cruz de la Palma, whereby it is publicly adored.

The council commissioned the construction of a facsimile which was in turn used to create the protective shell; this was formed in fireproof epoxy resin and glass fibre tissue together with a soft inner and frontal padding to provide complete protection for the icon.

This project has been essential to not only ensuring the long-term survival of the figure itself but also the continuation of this passionate expression of veneration by the people of La Palma.


The Lucida Lab Milano recording J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts
The Lucida Lab Milano recording J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts

A team from the Lucida Lab Milano started the recording of J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts, in Palazzo Sturm, Bassano del Grappa's Civic Museum. Palazzo Sturm is one of the few museums in Italy dedicated to showing every aspect of Remondini’s industrial process within the 16th and 17th centuries as well as the phases in the production of books, decorated papers, religious and popular print makings, games, optical views, etchings and woodcuts.

Read more about the Lucida Lab Milano.


Final Review session for the Advanced Preservation Technology Studio at Columbia University
Final Review session for the Advanced Preservation Technology Studio at Columbia University

In 2018, Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod's course within GSAPP 's Studio on Advanced Preservation Technology programme, at Columbia University, was based on the application of non-contact digital recording systems within the frame of a fieldwork project: the documentation of the great Casa de Pilatos in Seville.

During an intensive 3-day session in October, the students carried out the recording of a selection of art and architecture elements throughout the building. The students had the opportunity to receive on-site training by scanning specialists from Factum Foundation, working in groups so as to obtain high quality information on the current conservation state of the palace.

The obtained data was processed by the students with the aim of generating virtual and physical outputs that could ultimately contribute to the appreciation and dissemination of Casa de Pilatos. During the final review that took place in December, the students presented their research on the conservation of tiles in Casa Pilatos. On this occasion, several renders, multi-layered online browsers, Océ elevated prints 3D models and milled relief prototypes were displayed at the University, along with the video made during the recording session in Seville.


The Re-Opening of the Cast Courts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Re-Opening of the Cast Courts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Cast Courts at the V&A reopened this November following a long refurbishment.
Factum Foundation, in collaboration with the Peri Foundation and with the support of the Dagestan aul museum (Makhachkala), has created a copy of an 18th century tombstone from the remote mountain village of Kala-Koreysh, Dagestan. The tombstone was recorded using photogrammetry – a photographic 3D recording technique that can result in high-resolution data – and digitally carved in limestone to produce a beautiful object with material correspondence to the original.
When they first opened in 1873, the purpose of the Cast Courts was to display accurate copies of architectural and sculptural masterpieces from around the world. Over the course of the 20th century, the casts also acquired significant conservation value when a number of the original objects were lost or damaged. However, cast making has long been considered a destructive technique itself, and in the 21st century new non-contact technologies are finding their way into the Cast Courts.

Photo © courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum


Photogrammetry Training at Al-Ula
Photogrammetry Training at Al-Ula

In September 2018, Factum Foundation’s Otto Lowe spent two weeks in the town of Al-Ula, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, teaching a group of fifteen locals how to record cultural heritage in 3D using photogrammetry. A collaborative pilot project between the Factum Foundation, Art Jameel, and the Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU), the local students were first taught of the core concepts and technical processes behind photogrammetry then were able to practically apply this knowledge to the recording of three different petroglyph sites in the vicinity of Al-Ula. This educative initiative is one of the most significant in Factum Foundation’s recent efforts to support the dissemination of digital recording skills and technologies across Saudi Arabia.

Read more about it here.


Recording an avant-garde masterpiece
Recording an avant-garde masterpiece

Kazimir Malevich's Black Square, 1915 is regarded as the iconic painting of the Russian avant-garde. In March 2018, a Factum Foundation team were at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in order to fully record this delicate piece, as well as the 1929 reproduction created for a retrospective held at the gallery that year. The Lucida 3D scanner was employed to capture the intricacies of their surfaces, with this used alongside panoramic photography to achieve a comprehensive set of data that will aid further study of the mysterious work and ensure its longevity for generations to come.

Learn more.


Factum Foundation at the Protecting the Past Conference, Sharjah, December 2018
Factum Foundation at the Protecting the Past Conference, Sharjah, December 2018

On December 6th, the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) Project invited Factum Foundation's director, Adam Lowe, and photogrammetry expert, Otto Lowe, to talk jointly with Art Jameel and the Royal Commission of Al Ula at the Protecting the Past Conference.
This is a series of talks and events aiming at finding efficient strategies for the future of cultural heritage preservation and building long-lasting partnerships within the MENA region by bringing together stakeholders from many different boards.

On this occasion, the three institutions also presented their latest collaboration: a project aiming at transferring technology and know-how to local communities by providing training in data capture and processing to a number of selected participants. The pilot of this series of training programs ran this past October, 2018 in Al Ula with sixteen students and resulted in the successful capturing of 74,000 images and over 1.29TB of data.

Click here for further information about this new collaboration.

Click here for further details about the conference.


Fitch Colloqium 2019
Fitch Colloqium 2019

On February 15th, Factum Foundation’s Carlos Bayod participated at the Fitch Colloqium; a conference hosted by Columbia University GSAPP’s Historical Preservation Programme that explored the future of historical preservation through focusing on experimental approaches to digital documentation, analysis, archiving, sharing, visualisation and re-materialisation of data.

The symposium examined cutting-edge processes involving the development and application of digital tools to projects of all scales, including high-resolution 3D scanning; an area in which Bayod, Ajunct Assistant Professor at GSAPP, lent his expertise.


Recording of the Al Ain Museum
Recording of the Al Ain Museum

In September 2018, a team from Factum Foundation travelled to the oasis city of Al Ain in the Abu Dhabi Emirate in order to record and digitise the exhibits of the Al Ain Museum. The museum, the oldest in the UAE, is being temporarily closed to allow its renovation and the construction of an additional museum building, with Factum commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism to document its variety of exhibits that focus on the ethnographic and archaeological history of the country so as to ensure their long-term protection.
Two forms of digitisation were conducted: an overall scan using a LiDAR laser scanner in addition to photogrammetry on individual exhibits to supplement the LiDAR data.
Read more.


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