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Factum Arte shows 3D printed replicas of Corinthian capitels on Raffaello’s tomb

On display during the famous Italian painter's 500th anniversary exhibit

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The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing all social venues – including museums and exhibits – to close their doors to slow down the virus’ diffusion. For the Raffello exhibit, which marks the ​500-year anniversary of famous Italian painter’s death, Factum Arte created the spectacular starting point of the exhibition: a rematerialization of Raffaello’s tomb from the Pantheon, with its 19th-century additions removed. The incredibly intricate and beautiful capitels, were both 3D printed and then cast in stone.

The elaborate structure of the Corinthian capitels was recorded using photogrammetry. This data provided accurate 3D models which could be 3D printed at a 1:1 scale. These 3D prints were then molded and cast in plaster before being hand-painted to emulate the original marble.

This event – set to take place at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, was closed due to the coronavirus crisis in Italy. “This anticlimax, after months of work, is hard to accept but the disappointment was tempered by the arrival of the first copies of The Aura In the Age of Digital Materiality, Rethinking preservation in the shadow of an uncertain future,” Adam Lowe Director of Factum Arte said in a statement: “With all that is happening, the subtitle of this publication seems very timely – he added.”

Raffaello's tomb
Many parts of this replica of Raphael’s Tomb are 3D printed.

The Raffaello exhibition was curated by Marzia Faietti and Matteo Lanfranconi, with contributions from Vincenzo Farinella and Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro and the supervision of Sylvia Ferino-Pagden as President of the scientific committee. Raffaello looks in depth at the artist’s life, his diverse works of art and his wide-ranging influence: more than 200 artworks, 100 of them by Raphael, were loaned from all over the world.

In the past, Factum Arte has recreated incredible works of art such as Tutankhamo’s Tomb or Piranesi’s impossible furniture items, using advanced technologies including laser sintering and stereolithography. This ambitious project to accurately reproduce Raphael’s tomb has involved many people in Factum working together on different stages of the process. Moulders, casters, artists, welders, sculptors and conservators have pushed the limits of 3D recording, laser scanning, composite photography, digital modeling, engineering, 3D printing, CNC milling, and multi-layered color printing. Interdisciplinary practice, teamwork, knowledge and skill characterized Raphael’s studio in the Renaissance – a similar atmosphere pervades Factum’s workshops now.

Raffaello is now closed until further notice however the book presented by Factum Arte could help art ethusiasts alleviate the feeling of loss. It contains essays by many authors and experts including Richard Powers, Bruno Latour, Hartwig Fischer, Mari Lending, Nadja Aksamija, Shirley Krenak, Simon Schaffer, Jerry Brotton, Alexander Nagel and many others. The 400-page, hardback book is profusely illustrated and can be purchased for 39€ on Factum Foundation’s online book shop. Delivery of part of the edition is due in Madrid next week and Factum Arte will start processing orders as fast as possible, although – the company warns – there may be virus related delays.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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