We have another exciting project this week! We packed up the ShapeGrabber 3D scanner in the YDC2 Imaging Lab and set up shop temporarily at the Yale Center for British Art where Ruggero Pintus and Ying Yang, Postdoctoral Fellows for the Computer Science department, performed 3D scans of a marble bust of the esteemed poet Alexander Pope.
3D laser scanners are best for capturing surface topography. The scanner passes a laser beam over an objects surface rapidly to take measurements from many location points on the object. The resulting dense grid of 3D points is called a ‘point cloud’. This ‘point cloud’ requires post processing to convert it into a useable format. An accurate 3D reconstruction can help authenticate works of art and can be a valuable tool for conservators.
The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) and Waddesdon Manor (the Rothschild Foundation and the National Trust) are co-organizing a major exhibition on the sculptural images of Alexander Pope, which will open at the YCBA in spring 2014 and at Waddesdon Manor in summer 2014. The focus of the exhibition will be the series of busts of Pope made by the French émigré sculptor Louis Francois Roubiliac. The exhibition will assemble the signed and documented versions of Roubiliac’s busts of Pope, which span the years from 1738 to 1760, as well as a number of the adaptations and copies that were modeled after them.
By performing 3D scans of all of the busts, the YCBA’s aim is to explore not only the complex relationship between these various versions but also to shed new light on the hitherto little understood processes of sculptural production and replication in eighteenth-century Britain. The project offers a unique opportunity to study the objects side by side, both visually and technically, revealing similarities and differences in handling, surfaces, dimensions, construction, and materials.