The master of Neoclassicism copied by a robot that, in just over 10 days, sculpted one of his most famous works, "Amore e Psiche," a technology that will be used to showcase artworks that cannot be transported.
It took 270 hours to reproduce one of the masterpieces in art history: "Amore e Psiche," the sculptural group that Antonio Canova took five years to complete in 1793. The protagonist of this feat is not a sculptor but a robotic arm called Robotor. Starting from a 3D scan of a plaster version of the artwork displayed at the Louvre in Paris, it created a perfect copy by tirelessly working on a 10-ton block of Carrara white marble.
The work of the robot is on display in the courtyard of Palazzo Braschi in Rome as part of the exhibition "Eterna bellezza," an exhibition on Canova's art (until March 15, 2020). The exhibition features over 170 artworks from various collections, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Vatican Museums, the Canova Museum in Possagno, the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, and the Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Why undertake such an endeavor? The project, carried out within the framework of Magister (an exhibition format by Cose Belle d'Italia Media Entertainment), aims to provide a possible solution for showcasing complex masterpieces that are challenging to transfer from one museum to another or impossible to display. Renato Saporito of Magister explains, "We want to showcase the great masters of art worldwide through technology and multimedia. After Giotto and Canova, we are working on a major exhibition dedicated to Raphael for the 500th anniversary of his death in 2020."
The manufacturing process is a complex operation conducted by a highly advanced software that studies the raw marble block to identify the key points for sculpture insertion, plans the sequence of operations, and selects the type of tool to be used in various stages, from roughing to finishing. The robot arm moves thanks to numerous servomechanisms on its joints, and the more joints it has, the more mobility the machine possesses.
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