The making of the work_Part I
The Art of Piranesi: architect, engraver, antiquarian, vedutista, designer.
View the different elements prepared for the exhibition:
Objects: Isis Tripod
Objects: Fireplace: fire furniture
Objects: Helix Tripod
Santa Maria del Priorato
Factum Arte has collaborated with Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the production of a exhibition, curated by Michele De Lucchi, about Italian printmaker and connoisseur Giambattista Piranesi. The exhibition, The Art of Piranesi: architect, engraver, antiquarian, vedutista, designer (Le Arti di Piranesi: architetto, incisore, antiquario, vedutista, designer), has been showcased at Venice Biennial of Architecture, in the Sale del Convitto on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, from 28th August until 9th January 2011.
The Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 -1778) was a man of exceptional skill whose vision contributed greatly to our understanding of Classical art and architecture. Initially Piranesi trained as an architect but went on to become an inspirational print-maker, publisher, archaeologist, antiquarian, dealer and, most importantly for the theme of this exhibition, a designer. His eclectic taste has had widespread and profound influence in particular on the Neoclassical styles that emerged in England and France in the 18th century.
The Art of Piranesi: architect, engraver, antiquarian, view-maker, designer has been built around Fondazione Giorgio Cini's remarkable collection of the artist's prints. It presents Piranesi's Prisons within a virtual reality installation, the Caffè degli Inglesi as a full-scale evocation, as well as a touch-screen browser to interact with Piranesi's sketchbooks. However, central to this exhibition are the objects made from Piranesi's designs using the most advanced digital technologies and output methods (3D printing).
These objects selected from the artist's designs have been chosen by Adam Lowe, Alessandro Martoni and Michele de Lucchi in conjunction with the leading authority on Piranesi's work, John Wilton-Ely. The objects primarily come from Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi, Tripode and from Diverse maniere d'adornare i cammini ed ogni altra parte degli edifizi. Whilst others are based on antique fragments discovered in Hadrian's Villa.
One of the prison etchings from the Carceri d'invenzione series
Factum Arte, voxelstudios and a team of specialist craftsmen working in Madrid have produced these objects. Some have been made using traditional modelling skills while others have been made digitally using ‘organic modelling’ software. This mix of technology combined with traditional craft skills and materials will hopefully result in a meaningful C21st re-interpretation of Piranesi's interests in an excessive and incorporative sense of design. The output from the digital file to the physical object is achieved by using a variety of fabrication technologies including stereo-lithography, milling, fused deposition modelling and 3D printing.
Each object has been finished in the original materials specified by Piranesi – these include bronze, marble, silver and gold leaf. There are seven objects that have been produced in small edition, these include a marble chimney, a coffeepot, two bronze tripods, a chair, a vase and a candelabra.
Piranesi’s fantastical prisons series Carceri d’invenzione is presented as a walkthrough installation designed by Michele De Lucchi with a series of 16 virtual 3D environments created from the artist’s prints by Gregoire Dupond at Factum Arte. These are projected onto large screens within the installation. The task was especially complicated as the spaces inside the prisons are not logical or coherent, but are ‘prisons of the imagination’.
Etching of Piranesi's Egyptian decoration in Caffé Degli Inglesi
The final element produced by Factum Arte for this exhibit is a printed reconstruction of the Caffé Degli Inglesi. Piranesi designed the interior of the Egyptian-themed Caffé Degli Inglesi in Piazza di Spagna, Rome. These designs were originally painted onto the walls of the cafe but are now only documented in two etchings in the Diverse Maniere. The reconstruction of the cafe also contains a selection of prints, mainly focusing on Piranesi’s fireplace designs which highlight his great interest in Egyptian decoration.
On June 2010 The Giorgio Cini Foundation along with the curator of the forthcoming exhibition, Michele De Lucchi, came to Madrid to view the progress of the pieces that Factum Arte are making for the show.
This tripod is one of the objects being produced in 3D from Piranesi's designs.
A preview of the rotating 3D model corresponding to the tripod
The 3D virtual version of one of Piranesi's etchings is shown here as a STL file (left) and produced by voxelstudios in Madrid, after which it has been prototyped by Materialise (right) based in Belgium . The process used to build this prototype from a STL file is called sterolithography, the tripod was divided into sections and then each part is built slice by slice from bottom to top, in a vessel of liquid polymer that hardens when struck by a laser beam. The prototype surface is then reworked by hand in order to add the more intricate details and after which a silicon mould is made from which the tripod shall be cast subsequently.
The Isis tripod as seen in the exhibition
Original Piranesi etching of the candelabrum
A close up of the central section of the candlabrum in plaster before the final carving of the details
The Candelabrum as seen in the exhibition
Making of marble scagliola
A short animation of the virtual modelling of the fireplace designed by Piranesi. The video is a result of voxelstudios organic modelling work
The fireplace as seen in the exhibition. With the establishment of the scagliola workshop, it was decided it would be better to make the fireplace in white vein scagliola
Original etching of Piranesi's altar
The altar cast in a resin marble mix as seen in the exhibition
Following the ex hibition, it was decided the altar should be made in bronze with a scagliola top