Aug 9, 2018

Indiana University and Uffizi Gallery Collaborate to 3D Scan Ancient Artifacts

Indiana University and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy are collaborating to digitize ancient artifacts and sculptures, some of which are now available to view in 3D on a newly launched website.

Who doesn’t want to visit Italy to enjoy the local cuisine and visit some of the most impressive galleries in the world, such as Uffizi Gallery in Florence?

If this isn’t a possibility for you, there’s now a way for you to enjoy ancient artifacts and sculptures from the gallery in 3D. Avoid the expensive flight, cook yourself some pasta and pretend you’re in Florence

The 3D artifacts can be found on a new website which was unveiled this week at a ceremony held at the gallery. The models are the result of a collaboration between the Uffizi gallery and Indiana University (IU), USA.

The collaborators are using 3D scanning to digitize over 300 sculptures and fragments from the gallery’s collection. This project has been a work in progress since 2016.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie, said:

“As we accomplish the goals set forth in this unprecedented and enormously ambitious project, the unveiling of this new website marks a first major milestone in a collaboration that will generate unparalleled opportunity for scholarly engagement with materials housed in one of the world’s oldest and very finest galleries… By leveraging IU’s scholarly expertise in ancient art and culture, as well as our extensive technological capabilities, this collection of magnificent, inspiring and irreplaceable classical antiquities can now be viewed and studied in an entirely new and fascinating way by scholars, museum professionals, students and the general public.”

Check out the 3D Models on the New Website from Indiana University and Uffizi Gallery

Bernard Frischer, IU professor of informatics, director of the university’s Virtual World Heritage Laboratory and one of the world’s leading virtual archaeologists leads the team in digitizing artifacts.

This summer, the team digitized 61 statues in the gallery in addition to off-display items stored at Villa Corsini, the museum’s storage complex.

Frischer adds: “I am very pleased by the progress of our work on this five-year project both in terms of quantity and quality. We’re about halfway through the project and are on target to finish the job, as foreseen, in 2020… We have already digitized more works of classical sculpture than has ever been done in a single museum.”

In order for this project to work, IU informatics and art history students have to learn about 3D scanning, the right technique for data capture and 3D modeling.

The resulting models are now available on several websites including, the Italian Ministry of Culture’s internal conservation database, the Uffizi’s public website and the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory’s publicly available Digital Sculpture Project.

The digitization project is funded by a seed funding program from the Office of the Vice President for Research and receives technological support from University Information Technology Services.

You can check out the works for yourself on the Uffizi Digitalization Project webpage.

Source: Indiana University

License: The text of "Indiana University and Uffizi Gallery Collaborate to 3D Scan Ancient Artifacts" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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