A 3D Printed Replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David Presented at the Dubai World Expo

Published on October 5, 2021 by Madeleine P.

In the field of architecture, design and art, 3D printing has proven time and again that it can be very useful. From Jakub Pastuszak, who 3D prints artworks for the Amber Museum in Gdansk, to Scan the World, which uses 3D technologies to reproduce artworks, the applications are varied. And now, the technology can be found in one of the most important art exhibitions in the world. If you are an art lover, you will already know that the World Expo 2020 in Dubai started this year on October 1st. Postponed due to the health crisis, the Expo will continue through March 31. The opportunity for each participating country to have a pavilion throughout the 6 months, with the goal of addressing topics related to “connecting minds” and “building the future” through sustainability and mobility.

And to say the least, the Italian pavilion has perfectly adapted to the themes of the exhibition. Thanks to 3D technologies, they managed to reproduce the famous statue of Michelangelo representing the biblical hero David, in his fight against the giant Goliath. To accomplish this task, a project which took place over 4 months according to Grazia Tucci, professor of geometry at the University of Florence and coordinator of the project, the engineering department of the University of Florence collaborated with the Swedish industrial group Hexagon, specialized in new technologies. A beneficial partnership on many levels, so much so that Ms. Tucci believes “we’ve got now essentially the most trustworthy replica of the David.”

3D Printed Statue of David

The 3D printed replica is ten times lighter than the original. (Photo credits: Massimo Sestini for ItalyExpo2020)

A “digital twin” of the statue of David

At 5 meters high, a special tripod had to be designed and thousands of scans made before the statue of David could be fully digitized. As you can imagine, it was very difficult to find a 3D printer capable of printing the replica in one go. That’s why the project organizers decided to divide the work into 14 printable pieces. Designed from acrylic resin, the art restorers have, once the different parts printed, assembled the different parts of the statue using glue and marble dust. A success for Grazia Tucci, who described the 3D printed replica as a “digital twin” and who hopes, in the long run, to be able to preserve the cultural heritage thanks to 3D technologies.

Through this initiative, the organizers of the project, like the Florentine mayor Dario Nardella, hope to offer Florence the opportunity to reconnect with tourists. Since the beginning of the health crisis, the capital of the Renaissance has lost no less than 81% of its annual visitors, according to the latest studies on this subject. Mr. Nardella concluded: “The David is a logo of prosperity, a logo of power, of freedom, and particularly a logo of peace,” he stated. “So, this occasion is a giant alternative for our spirit and to get better our metropolis and outdated arts in Italy.” You can find out more about the Italian pavilion at the Dubai Expo HERE.

What do you think of this 3D printed Statue of David? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter, with all the latest news in 3D printing delivered straight to your inbox!

*Cover Photo Credits: Antonio Quattrone

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