In a collaboration between the worlds of 3D printing and high art, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium has paired up with The Louvre, to commission the 3D scanning and printing of a replica of the Venus de Galgenberg, one of the world’s oldest figurines.

The facsimile is currently on display as part of their ‘2050—a brief history of the future’ exhibition and intends to demonstrate how technology will change the way we experience art.

The original Venus de Galgenberg, which is only 7.2 cm high, weighs 10 g, and portrays a woman in a dancing position, is permanently housed at the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. In order to ‘bring’ her to the Belgian public, 3D scanning was used to capture several images of the Venus.

Those images were used to create a full 3D model, prior to the 3D printing of the final figurine in full-colour sandstone, which is now on display at the Museum.

“We are delighted with this part of our exhibition, which truly shows the potential of technologies like 3D scanning and printing,” said Jennifer Beauloye, curator of the exhibition. “With this, we hope to initiate a reflection and to open a debate on the evolution of the museum in the digital era.”

Many artists and museums have turned to 3D scanning as a way of preserving, researching, or replicating historical artifacts and fine art.