Project Description:

A limited number of bronze molds were were made – mostly in the 1920’s – from several of Michelangelo’s original stone masterpieces.  These bronzes were scanned and 3D prints were made in order to create patterns for foundry casting of new bronzes.

Extremely high fidelity in the 3D scanning, 3D printing, and bronze casting processes was required.  The stated goal was “to capture all of Michelangelo’s original chisel marks”.


Scansite3D, Artworks Foundry

Image at right:   Replica of Michelangelo’s “Pieta”. Size:  17.25 inches.  Materials:  Cast bronze with custom patina.  Produced by colaboration between Scaniste3D and Artworks Foundry

The Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli (or Marinelli Pontifical Foundry), founded in 1339, is one of the oldest and most prestigious bronze foundries in Europe.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Marinelli foundry was acclaimed as the premier foundry in Italy, having cast copies of many of the greatest works of the renaissance masters. In part because of this special status, Marinelli’s ‘fonderia artistica’ was permitted to take a mold from Michelangelo’s marble Pietà in St Peter’s, Rome as well as fifteen of the other important sculptures from the Vatican’s collection. It was the kind of privilege that is unthinkable today, in large part because of the damage to the original that can occur during the molding process.

A very limited number of bronzes were cast from the molds made by Ferdinando Marinelli, and today these beautiful pieces are held by museums and private collectors around the world.

Scansite 3D has been commissioned to provide 3D scanning for most of the Marinelli copies. The work began in 2014. Here are some of the early results.

Breuckmann 3D scanner at work collecting data on “The Pieta”

Final, edited polygon mesh of Michelangelo’s “Pieta”

Breuckmann 3D Scanner measuring Michelangelo’s “Bacchus”

Edited 20,000,000 polygon mesh created from 3D scan data

Breuckmann 3D scanner at work collecting data on “Moses”

Finished, edited 3D scan data of Michelangelo’s “Moses”

3D scanning Michelangelo’s “Madonna of Bruges”

Final, edited polygon mesh for the “Madonna of Bruges”

Detail of the scan data for Michelangelo’s “Moses”

Detail of final scan data for “Bacchus”