The most accurate reproduction ever of Michelangelo’s David is set to appear at the Expo 2020 Dubai, which has been rescheduled due to the pandemic.
The David’s “twin” has been conceived via a complex digitalization process that involved roughly 40 hours of scanning Michelangelo’s original in the Galleria della Accademia. Every second, the scanning instruments took measurements of up to 156,000 points on the statue’s surface. The scans were then combined with algorithms to produce a three-dimensional digital model with a resolution of 146 thousandths of a millimetre.
“We are not just interested in gathering geometrical information about the form of the statue,” said Professor Grazia Tucci, head of the project. “We want to be able to reproduce its texture.”
ph. Antonio Quattrone
Director of the Accademia, Cecilie Hollberg, hailed the initiative as “a vital step forward, whether for future studies or research, for simulations or conservation. The original David will remain here, in this museum, but we are delighted to be able to send Dubai its ‘twin’ as a messenger of beauty and a symbol of Italy.”
The creation of the David copy is the result of a months-long process, which can be followed here. The digitalization stage was managed by the civic and environmental engineering department at the University of Florence, in collaboration with the Italian division of Swedish technology company Hexagon AB. The final touches were added by Nicola Salvioli in his borgo degli Albizi studio using resin and Carrara marble powder.
The Dubai Expo was scheduled to open in October 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic has seen its dates pushed back to October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022. For publicity and branding reasons, the event will keep its original name. The Italy Pavilion was designed by Italo Rota, Carlo Ratti, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria, while Davide Rampello is the artistic curator.
This article was also published in Issue 274 of The Florentine.