Halfway home to Ithaca, Odysseus reached the island of Scheria, where he was found on the seashore by Nausicaa, princess of the hyper-civilised Phaecians. The scene was sculpted in 1948 by the Greek artist Nikos Ghika. He produced two maquettes: one shows the bedraggled hero Odysseus attempting to hide his nakedness behind a tree while the other depicts the princess Nausicaa playing ball with her companions on the shore.
[R] Niko Ghika's Nausicaa
[L] Niko Ghika's Odysseus © Factum Arte
Commissioned by Lord Rothschild, Factum Arte has transformed these two small maquettes into monumental figures. The 30cm models in bronze were recorded using high-resolution photogrammetry and digitally enlarged to about 2.5m. The prepared and enlarged files were CNC-milled into medium density polyurethane using a seven-axis robotic arm. The routed forms were then cast in bronze at the Kaparos Fine Art foundry near Athens. Finally they were shipped and installed on the terrace overlooking the sea onto rotating bases.
The location was selected for them by Ghikas. It is a promontory looking out from Corfu towards Albania so passing boats can see the figures. The setting is an apt one: not only has tradition long associated Corfu with the mythical island of Scheria, but the Rothschild property there is one which was restored by Nikos Ghikas, together with Barbara Hutchinson, Lord Rothschild’s mother, who married the artist in 1961.
[R] 3D print of Niko Ghika's Nausicaa
[L] 3D print of Niko Ghika's Odysseus © Factum Arte
Niko Ghika's Odysseus, CNC-milled in medium density polyurethane and a photograph of the original sculpture © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte
[L] Casting the sculptures in bronze at Kaparos Fine Art foundry © Alekos Pappas
The installation in Corfu© Factum Arte
Odysseus and Nausicaa, bronzes scaled up from maquettes created by Niko Ghika, on a promontory looking out from Corfu to Albania © The Art Newspaper