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 Preservation 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.
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.
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.
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.
Putting the pieces together
Details of the final crucifix
On Monday, 26th December 2016, a team from Factum Arte, the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Preservation 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.