New Crucifix for the Mejorada del Campo Cathedral

Mejorado del Campo, Spain, 2016

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The new crucifix for Mejorada del Campo Cathedral

A new version of a wooden cross heavily damaged in a fire several years ago was offered as a gift from the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation to Father Justo, the man behind the 40-year construction of the Cathedral of Mejorada del Campo in Madrid. When Adam Lowe and Miguel Guillén visited the Cathedral soon after the fire, Father Justo expressed his desire for the crucifix to metaphorically rise from the ashes, larger and more splendid than before. This seemed like a perfect task for Factum’s Foundation - a gift from the foundation to Justo’s great creation.

Father Justo´s original cross was burnt in a fire several years ago

The damaged crucifix was first scanned with a structured light scanner made by Nub3D in Barcelona and then processed and digitally reworked at the Factum Arte workshop in Madrid. This important step saw the development of the new, enlarged and re-imagined work.

Post-processing & digital manipulation of data recorded with the white-light scanner

The scan was then carved in polystyrene with a seven-axis robot at three times the original size.

The was routed in high-density polystyrene in a 7 axis robot

The routed prototype

This physical object was then passed to Juan Carlos Arias, Factum Arte’s classically trained modeler and carver, who has a detailed knowledge and understanding of the language of religious Spanish art and worked for many years at the Museo de Reproducciones. Over a period of 18 months, he reconstructed the burnt figure and brought the limbs and flesh of the figure back to completion.

Juan Carlos Arias modelled the head, hands and other details of the sculpture

Modelling the sculpture

Modelling the hands in clay

Detail

Father Justo visited at regular intervals to direct operations and discuss stylistic details, such as the depiction of Christ´s expression. He rejected brutal depictions of death but was equally scornful of sentimental or romanticised representations. When everyone agreed, the figure was complete. Moulds were taken of the sculpture´s different components and these were subsequently cast in plaster.

Preparing the silicone mould

A fiberglass jacket supports the mould

The mould was cast in plaster.

Silicone moulds of the limbs

Preparing mould of the limbs

The mould was cast in plaster.

Putting the pieces together

Details of the final crucifix

Juan Carlos Arias modelled the crucifx for Mejorada del Campo Cathedral

Details of the crucifix

On Monday, 26th December 2016, a team from Factum Arte, the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation and many guests, took the finished, rematerialised version of a crucifix to Justo Gallego Martínez´s cathedral in Mejorada del Campo, Madrid. It now hangs freely in the space above the altar, drawing the eye up to the vast dome that hovers above Justo's extraordinary creation.

Left to right: Juan Carlos Arias, Angel (Father Justo´s loyal assistant), Father Justo, Adam Lowe with the finished Christ

The final work hanging in the cathedral

Hanging the new crucifix in the Chathedral

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