The high-tech copy of David will represent Italy at Expo 2020

The Expo 2020, the Universal Exposition, has been postponed by a year because of the current global pandemic and the event will therefore take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022. 

The Italy pavilion will show all visitors the beauty of Italy and its cities of art that has the power to unite people, the project will involve Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria and Michelangelo Buonarroti’s David will be placed at the centre of the Italian Pavilion. 

The original masterpiece, one of the greatest symbol of the Renaissance period, is now housed in the Accademia Gallery in Florence which has authorized the reproduction of the statue using advanced technology. About twenty years ago Stanford University digitized David creating a 3D version, but the copy that will be exhibited in Dubai will be the most detailed and accurate 3D statue created to date. 

The challenge involves the duplication of Michelangelo’s masterpiece using a 3D printer. The clone of the statue will be the same size as the original and therefore will be 5,17 meters high. 

The team of researchers and technicians is led by Professor Grazia Tucci, director of the GeCo Laboratory of geomatics for the environment and conservation of cultural heritage of the University of Florence, who explained: “According to us, David, as a symbol of strength and beauty, is the best idea to represent the moment of rebirth of Italy following the difficult period we are going through”. 

The digitization of the work involves several steps including the preparation of the procurement set; followed by the acquisition, digitization, processing and analysis of data, to finally finish with the preparation of all the print files. 

The project is characterized by three main steps. The first step will begin with the reproduction of the high-tech copy of David through a laser scanner and some aeronautical engineering tools for the creation of a very high resolution digital archive; the second phase will continue with 3D printing with the use of the largest 3D printer in Italy, the masterpiece’s “twin” will be made in different parts and with a plastic material to facilitate its transport to Dubai; whereas the final phase will involve some experts who will have the task of perfecting the 3D David by refining the small details. 

Cecilie Hollberg, the director of the Accademia Gallery, stated that: “As the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence we are happy to participate, under the aegis of the Italian Commissariat for Expo, in this innovative project, the first high-tech reproduction of Michelangelo’s David. David will be the protagonist of the Italian Pavilion of the next Universal Exposition, an icon of beauty and perfection will represent not only Italian art, his figure will above all be the bearer of an important positive message of rebirth, hope and courage”. 

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