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ÜBER NEW MEDIA: A PROJECT TO 3D SCAN & AND PRINT ANCIENT SCULPTURE

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A PROJECT TO 3D SCAN & PRINT ANCIENT SCULPTURE

As reported by Art Daily

Cosmo Wenman is a California artist who has embraced 3D printing in a unique way.
His sculptures are 3D-printed replicas of ancient works of art,
capturing the look and feel of those works of old but reproduced in a
way that could only be done with the advancements (and limitations) of
modern technology.

His Horse of Selene piece, for example, was created by meticulously scanning a marble
sculpture from the British Museum, and then split into 29 pieces that
were printed with a MakerBot Replicator. You can even download the file
t0 make one yourself. Just as ancient sculptors modeled their works
after real people and objects, using the techniques and materials
available at the time, Cosmo is doing the same to those pieces using his
own invented techniques, propagating a system of artistic (and
mechanical) reproduction.

HOW IT’S DONE

Here is a video from the Getty showing the process.

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As  Virginia Postrel explains in Bloomberg News:

When Cosmo Wenman went to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in late May, he did what many people do.

He took photos of some of his favorite sculptures. But instead of a few snapshots, Wenman took hundreds of pictures, documenting busts and reliefs from every accessible angle. Then he did something currently unusual — but likely to become common.

Wenman turned the photos into three-dimensional digital maps, using a free program called Autodesk 123D Catch. Then he used the maps to print miniature plastic replicas on the $2,000 MakerBot 3-D printer in his home office. And he made one of his best scans freely available, uploading it to the Thingiverse site where MakerBot enthusiasts share digital plans. Now, alongside the hobbyist designs for specialty tools, robot figurines and hair ornaments, you can find an 18th-century relief, John Deare’s “Venus Reclining on a Sea Monster with Cupid and a Putto.”

On Thingiverse, you can also find data maps for around three dozen sculptures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Unlike Wenman’s one-man amateur venture, these scans are the result of an official collaboration between MakerBot Industries LLC and the Met. This month, the museum hosted a two- day “Hackathon” in which artists working with MakerBot staff members and equipment used the same process to create scans and replicas of Met sculptures, as well as their own derivative works.

Art Daily also says:
<blockquote>Wenman has 3D scanned and 3D printed adaptations of works from the British Museum, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Tate Britain, the Getty Villa, the Louvre, and the Norton Simon museum have been displayed at the 2012 London 3D Print Show and the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. His life-size, solid bronze adaptation of the Getty Villa’s bust of Caligula was recently displayed as an example of digitization and 3D printed reproduction at a conference of museum curators at the Smithsonian.

He now has announced plans to 3D-scan plaster casts of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures at The Skulpturhalle Basel museum in Basel, Switzerland. Wenman’s project, “Through a Scanner, Skulpturhalle,” will release the 3D scans and 3D printable models into the public domain, at no cost and copyright free, on Makerbot’s Thingiverse 3D printing website, allowing anyone with a 3D printer to print their own copies. Wenman’s project is a demonstration of the extraordinary potential for new 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies to bring sculptural masterworks into people’s homes at low cost.

The Skulpturhalle Basel museum holds a collection of approximately 2,000 high-quality plaster casts of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, including the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, the Medusa Rondanini, and Athena Parthenos. Wenman has obtained the Skulpturhalle’s permission to take hundreds of photographs of his choice of works, then process the images into 3D-printable files that will be uploaded to Makerbot’s Thingiverse, the premier online repository for 3D files. From there, artists and 3D printing enthusiasts can use the files to 3D print copies of their own, or create new derivative works. Teachers will be able to print copies for the classroom, giving students direct, hands-on access to the world’s sculptural masterworks.</blockquote>

PROOF OF CONCEPT

According to Cosmo himself:

Demonstrations and proofs of concept I’ve done recently include 3D scanning and 3D printing adaptations of works from the British Museum, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Tate Britain, the Getty Villa, the Louvre, and the Norton Simon museum. They’ve been displayed at the 2012 London 3D Print Show, and the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

My life-size, solid bronze adaptation of the Getty Villa’s bust of Caligula was recently displayed as an example of digitization and 3D printed reproduction at a conference of museum curators at the Smithsonian.

My 3D print of Hypnos was shown at the 2013 Museums + Heritage Show in London, and is now on display at iMakr in London, along with my reproduction of Jacob Epstein’s 1933 bronze portrait of Albert Einstein and my 3D print of hominid fossil KNMER406, made on behalf of Louise Leakey’s AfricanFossils.org.

This interview with the MythBusters guys’ Tested.com goes into some detail about the work I do to scan artwork and prepare the models for printing.

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

The Skupturehalle project, seeking popular funding through a Kickstarter  campaign which launched on June 6, is unusual as it will create a pure public good—rather than a commercial product—and the final products will be freely available online. Talk about fulfilling a mission to make art accessible!!

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One comment on “ÜBER NEW MEDIA: A PROJECT TO 3D SCAN & AND PRINT ANCIENT SCULPTURE

  1. Very interesting!

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