Memory and Future: Michelangelo’s David at Expo 2020 Dubai Memory and Future: Michelangelo’s David at Expo 2020 Dubai

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Memory and Future: Michelangelo’s David at Expo 2020 Dubai

The Renaissance, technological excellence, cultural heritage and digital heritage: Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, under the aegis of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism and the Italy’s Commissioner’s Office for Expo 2020 Dubai, leads the most sophisticated high-end technological replica project of Michelangelo’s masterpiece in an operation that combines historical memory with current innovation.

Linking memory and future, David’s digital twin will travel to Dubai to stand as the centrepiece of the Italy Pavilion at the upcoming Universal Exposition. The project, which reinforces the beauty of Italy and its iconic art-filled cities, also envisages the “making of” of the reproduction itself, in order to offer visitors and as a legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai, the representation of the many multidisciplinary skills involved.

The journey to Dubai

Digitalisation of Michelangelo's David

There are many challenges presented by the David digitalisation project, a collaboration between the Section Commissioner General for Italy for Expo Dubai 2020, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Activities, the Museum of the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Florence.

This unique project involves a team of technicians and researchers from the university and industrial world, coordinated by Professor Grazia Tucci, bringing together various specialised skills.

Digitalisation - the stepsPreparation of the procurement set | Data acquisition | Data digitalisation | Data processing | Data analysis | Preparing the print files.

The case of Michelangelo's work requires the overcoming of logistical and operational difficulties which are not negligible, such as those related to the size of the work and the need to view it up close, walking all around it. Precisely in order to create an extremely highly detailed digital replica, we wanted to borrow tools and methods typically used in the industrial sector. By involving Hexagon, who will collaborate with the group of geomatic researchers - the name used nowadays to refer to measurement and digitalisation experts - of the University of Florence.

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Physical reproduction of Michelangelo’s David

Once completed the 3D data acquisition operations ahead of preparing a high-resolution digital twin is when the physical re-production of David begins.

A solid model will be made of Michelangelo’s masterpiece and will become the centrepiece in the exposition itinerary of the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai: the most sophisticated additive manufacturing instruments will make it possible to obtain a 3D print of the statue while Italian professionals of excellence in restoration will take care of the finishing with a view to producing a replica as similar as possible to the original, thus documenting the actual state of the statue today.

Layer after layer, materials amalgamate and harden under the effect of targeted radiations or filaments produced from recycled plastic material so as to not overlook the arduous task of protecting our fragile Planet, used to re-produce one of the most well-loved sculptures in the world.

The additive manufacturing technique does away with process scraps and the various parts, which derive from a complete engineering process, are assembled with special care in terms of resistance and safety.

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