Project Description

Digitizing Michelangelo’s Bronzes

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.