Lead Forensics

Renaissance period statue restored with assistance from 3D scanning technology

Jan 6, 2016 | 3D Scanning, Artifacts, Museums & Collections, Sculpture

3D scanning has played a key role in the restoration of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam. 

Adam, a life-size marble statue carved by Tullio Lombardo during the Renaissance period, is a priceless artwork. It was made in the early 1490s but was badly damaged in 2002 in an accident at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York when the sculpture fell and was shattered into multiple pieces.

The restoration process took 12-years to restore the figure to its former state. A key part of this was the use of 3D scanning to capture data of the broken pieces of the sculpture and plot a virtual reconstruction of the statue.

The first step of the restoration was to digitize the broken fragments, which was achieved by 3D scanning each individual piece.  There were 28 major fragments and 400 minor fragments, and once all fragments had been recreated digitally, the restoration team reassembled the pieces into a 3D model.

It was impossible for the pieces to be exactly realigned but from the completed 3D digital model, a reverse image was produced so that a CNC mill could be used to create a foam cradle for the reconstruction. The scan data was then used to create a “Virtual Adam” 3D CAD model as a reference point for the physical reconstruction of the real Adam statue.

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The PES Scanning blog provides information and news on the scanning and engineering services we offer. The blog also includes views from our team and information about projects we’ve been working on.