Twenty-eight decorative statues have been reproduced accurately, including all the original details, and placed in the gardens of the villas of Pompeii where once they stood as decorative elements. This has been possible thanks to 3D printing and to the DeltaWASP 40 70 printer, owned by the archaeological site thanks to the collaboration between WASP and the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia.
Initially, the printer was used to reproduce the casts of the bodies of dead people in the eruption of Vesuvius, because of the frequent requests coming from abroad. They were recently exhibited in Canada in the exhibition "Pompeii in the shadow of the volcano", which ended in January and had a great success because of a high amount of visitors.
The reproduction of the decorative statues
This second operation, aimed at the reproduction of works of art, highlights the innovative and decisive role of 3D printing in the restoration of the artistic and cultural heritage. "Typically, the original works cannot remain outside, outdoors, because of the acid rain and all the other elements that can deteriorate them disastrously - explains Giancarlo Napoli, technical director of Atramentum, a company that took care of 'operation - The original pieces of twenty-eight statues that adorned the gardens of the houses of Octavio Quartio and Marcus Lucretius are now exposed in Turin, but thanks to playback 3D printing they are also visible in their place of origin".
3D printing: precision and high-definition
Although the material is different, it is not at all easy to realize that they are copies. "No visitor notices it," says Napoli. "Over the restorations - explains the technical director - it is preferable to use different materials rather than imitate the original material: in the 19th Century people always used marble for restorations, with the result that, after many years, it is no longer possible to distinguish the original authentic parts from the restored ones. In addition to it, polyvinyl plastics and resins allow high-definition reproductions, respecting also the smallest details. To take another example, these days we have reproduced a skull coming from a skeleton of the Sunni period. It was pierced due to a sort of surgery, as they used to do at that time, to which this warrior had survived: the result is very satisfactory, a very nice job. "
Overcoming the law about the copies of works of art
In addition, 3D printing made solved one of the major obstacles arose with the introduction of a new ministerial regulation which forbids to make copies with silicone rubber, from which you get a negative that can be filled with the chosen material. "A system that without any doubt gives the opportunity to make identical copies - explains Napoli - but with a high risk of tarnishing the pieces of art due to contact with the rubber silicone. This can happen when they come off the rubber, and for this reason it has been rightly banned. Currently, the 3D print is the only possible alternative ".
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Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.