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A copy of Michelangelo's David will represent Italy at Expo 2021 in Dubai. Printed by the largest 3D printer in the world, a reproduction of the colossal statue hosted in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence will be displayed in the center of the Dubai Italian Pavilion.

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Between past and future, the most accurate and sophisticated reproduction ever is about to take place. With its 5.17 meters high and its 5.6 tons of Carrara marble, the iconic sculpture will be reproduced through the largest 3D printer in the world, under the scientific supervision of the University of Florence. Eventually, David's twin will be featured in the Italian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai, which will open on 1 October 2021. 

 

David, Michelangelo, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence. Couresy of italyexpo2020.it © Antonio Quattrone

 

"This moment is of great importance," explains Cecilie Hollberg, Director of the Accademia Gallery in Florence. "It allows us to acquire new information about the sculpture, updating data collected about twenty years ago. This is a crucial step for both further study and research, for various types of simulation and for conservation, allowing us to keep up with the times. Data will be archived and conserved by the Gallery, also with a view to protecting the image of the David [...]. The original David will remain here, in this museum, but we are happy to be able to send its 'twin' to Dubai as a messenger of beauty and symbol of Italy".  

 

Digitalization of David by Michelangelo. Courtesy of askanews.it

 

Many specific and detailed skills are at stake. The concept of copying takes on new meanings, reinventing what cultural heritage can mean. Indeed, the use of modern technologies capable of overcoming significant logistical and operational difficulties can be a turning point. "In the case of the David, not only the acquisition of the geometric data, i.e. the shape of the statue, but also of its texture, is of great interest, and therefore acquisition systems capable of acquiring both pieces of information at the same time must be considered," explains Professor Grazia Tucci, head of the reproduction project. 

"In order to balance the different needs for measurement accuracy, spatial resolution, sampling speed and texture acquisition, we use systems that are used in the industrial field, such as ship engines and aeronautical instruments". The Renaissance thus joins the future thanks to technological excellence, while Michelangelo's masterpiece becomes a symbol between the past and the world that awaits us after the pandemic. 

 

David, Michelangelo, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence. Courtesy of ansa.it

 

Cover image: David, Michelangelo, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence. Courtesy of ansa.it

Written by Giulia Cami

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