'Factum Arte in Madrid uses the latest 3D scanning and printing technology to create copies of some of the world's most famous masterpieces — saving them from the ravages of time and even helping to bring back missing works from the dead.'
Many thanks to Paul Rhys and Emilie Iob
Published in December 2020
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 focused 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 founder of Factum Foundation, guides you through 'The Materiality of the Aura. New Technologies for Preservation', at Palazzo Fava, Bologna until 10th January 2021. 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.
© A film by Óscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation
On the 4th and 5th February 2020, a team from Factum Foundation has 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’s legacy, as part of a wider collaboration with CEEH (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica).
© A film by Óscar Parasiego for Factum Foundation
Factum Arte has been working with the Cabildo de Gran Canaria since early 2019 on a project to record and re-materialise an exact facsimile of ‘Cave No. 6’, which has been incorporated into the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2019. The facsimile has been installed by our team in January 2020 and will be on permanent view at the new Risco Caído Interpretation Centre in the town of Artenara. The project is an exceptional demonstration of how new technology can serve to promote accessibility to vulnerable cultural heritage sites around the world whilst monitoring and maintaining their present condition.
Video © Óscar Parasiego for Factum Arte
Cover image © Courtesy of Cabildo de Gran Canaria
In 2018-2019, the Annunciation has undergone a complex process of cleaning and conservation: the results was presented to the public as the centrepiece of the exhibition Fra Angelico and the Rise of the Florentine Renaissance at the Prado (May to September 2019). In-depth documentation is integral to current conservation practice. As part of the Annunciation’s conservation the Prado team performed an array of technical studies including high-resolution visible colour photography, infra-red reflectography and X-ray radiography, all of which enabled them to better understand the painting’s historical as well as its present condition. Find out more
On 24th October 2019, exact facsimiles of two lamassu statues (Assyrian protective deities in the form of human-headed winged lions) have been 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. Find out more.
The cave of Kamukuwaká, a sacred petroglyph site representing the cosmogony of the inhabitants of Upper-Xingu, Brazil, and registered national monument, has been intentionally mutilated. In Sept. 2018, on a Factum Foundation visit to conduct high-resolution documentation of the sacred cave as a precautionary measure for such an attack, it was discovered that these petroglyphs had been systematically destroyed with chisels.
The data captured from this trip was combined with photographic documentation dating from before the attack to produce an entire 3D recreation of the cave. The Wauja have been working with the team in Factum to ensure the digital recreation is perfect and that the petroglyphs are correct. Part of this process is explored in this video: the careful digital restoration of the petroglyphs, carried out by Factum's expert 3D sculptor in close correspondence with the Wauja community.
This film was created as part of the campaign to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
Gavin Kingcome’s short film contains interviews with different people affected by the decision to close the foundry, from current bell-ringers to representatives of the East London Mosque, the foundry’s nearest neighbour, who were never consulted by the property developer about plans to convert the foundry into a boutique hotel.
The map of the world made by the 12th-century Islamic cartographer Al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily was a masterpiece of mapping which remained the most technically sophisticated world-map for three centuries after its production.
The silver disk is now lost, and the Entertainment for those wanting to discover the world (Nuzhat al-mushtāq fi'khtirāq al-āfāq), survives only through later copies. Factum Foundation has undertaken to re-create Al-Idrisi’s fabled map. Neither facsimile nor copy, this re-creation nonetheless combines painstaking historical research with advanced digital techniques and the highest levels of craftsmanship, paying tribute to the lost original and offering yet another layer to add to the complexity of its transmission.
The exhibition 'Madame de Pompadour in the Frame', open to public from 23 May to 27 October 2019 at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK, features the facsimiles of two portraits of Madame de Pompadour by François Boucher. The exhibition allows visitors to examine the facsimiles alongside artefacts of the production process and to watch a video showing the various stages of making.
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. It was a collaborative pilot project between the Factum Foundation, Art Jameel, and the Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU), and generously funded by Jacob Rothschild. The course took place between the 30thSeptember and 11th October at the Shaden Resort, and involved a class of 10 women and 5 men.
Over a period of seven days, the students recorded at three different sites in the vicinity of Al-Ula. More than 74,000 images were recorded in this time period, with the entire project weighing a total of 1.29TB.
Click here to learn more about this project.
In 2018, Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod's Studio on Advanced Preservation Technology programme, at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP, 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, Spain.
During a 3-day intensive trip in early 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.
In December 2017, Factum Foundation funded and co-led a remarkable field trip in search of proof of a new type of dinosaur in one of the most inaccessible and dangerous places on earth: Pakistan’s western province of Balochistan. Generally off limits to the outside world because of its proximity to the Afghanistan conflict, and its homegrown insurgency seeking independence from Islamabad, this oil and gas-rich region is also a largely unexplored treasure-trove of prehistoric remains. Over the course of two days in December 2017, the team took thousands of terrestrial and aerial photos of the site. Learn more about the project here.
In May 2016, a team from Factum Foundation were joined by two Dagestani photographers, winners of the competition ‘Cultural Heritage 2.0’ and trainees at Factum Arte (Madrid), to record the tombstones at the mosque of Kala-Koreysh (Dagestan, Russia). The initiative stemmed from a collaboration between Factum Foundation and the Peri Ziyavudin Magomedov Charitable Foundation that aims to digitize the cultural heritage of Dagestan.
This video was made in Dagestan while digitizing local tombstones. Learn more about the project here.
In house textile conservator, Isabel Fernandez disassembles a lampshade in the collection of the Joaquín Sorolla´s house museum, which underwent a preventive conservation treatment. The silk fabric of the lampshade was digitized, digitally restored and printed as a facsimile.
Learn more about the project here.
A combination of CNC milling and Canon Production Printing 3D printing has been used to produce the facsimile the tomb of Seti I. Most of the tomb has been carved into boards of polyurethane using CNC routing machines. The walls were routed into panels of approximately 1 x 2 m that are then joined together. Once complete, these panels were assembled to form complete rooms. The elevated printing technology of Canon Production Printing (previously Océ - A Canon Company), is a form of additive 3D printing. It can create full-colour, textured prints with a maximum size of 2.44 x 1.19 m and a height up to 5 mm.
Learn more about the project.
The preparation of an elastic printing media, or skins, was a direct response to practical need. Factum Arte’s flatbed digital printer can overprint in perfect register but it cannot print a detailed and focused image onto an undulating surface. A mixture of three different materials has been developed and is made as required and applied in layers. It is an ultrathin, flexible, slightly elastic material suitable for inkjet printing with pigmented ink.
Learn more about the project.