In April 2013, a team from Factum Arte 3D scanned Antonio Canova's statue of Paolina Borghese at Galleria Borghese in Rome
Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix portrays Napoleon's sister, and was commissioned by Bonaparte's husband Camillo Borghese. It was sculpted in Rome from 1805 to 1808 following Pauline's marriage into the noble Borghese family.
The scanning of the statue has been the first project that Factum Arte has carried out at Galleria Borghese, and formed a collaborative project with the Venetian designer Giberto Arrivabene. The collaboration aimed to make a life-sized cast in glass of the Canova's marble sculpture based on the 3D scan. After almost a year trying to find the right scale and the correct technique to cast the sculpture in glass it has now been output as a stereolithographic print by Materialise in Leuven, Belgium. The next stage was to produce a mould and a wax positive, which was then cast in glass.
Adam Lowe and Giberto Arrivabene meet in Rome at Galleria Borghese and talk about their collaboration in the making of the cast in glass of Paolina Borghese as Venus Vitrix
Three of the project's resultant statues, one glass, one in painted plaster, and one high-resolution 3D print in resin, were purchased by the V&A and officially unveiled as part of the reopening of the London museum's famed Cast Courts on December 1st 2018. Whilst the bright white edition is a 3D stereolithographic printed resin painted white, the other two versions were both cast in moulds produced directly from a 3D print. The glass version was particularly complex to produce and took over ten weeks to cool and set after casting. The production of these statues, combining new technology with more traditional casting techniques, highlights the versatility of modern 3D replication and the debt it owes to historical methods.
Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, presenting the facsimiles of Paolina © Factum Arte