Imaging Lab, operative unit of the Foundation CCR “La Venaria Reale”


Imaging Lab is one of the operative units of the Foundation Centro per la Conservazione e il Restauro dei Beni Culturali “La Venaria Reale” (CCR). The CCR was founded  in 2005 and works to promote cultural heritage; its mission is to actively promote education and research in the field of conservation. According to the most advanced guidelines the CCR operates through a multidisciplinary and integrated approach in order to organize restoration laboratories for the conservation of cultural heritage. It aims at providing consistent and coordinated activities for the  monitoring, prevention, maintenance and restoration of cultural heritage and to promote the development and dissemination of tools for a better and more extensive knowledge of cultural heritage.
The Imaging laboratory makes multispectral analysis and photographic surveys along every restoration phase; by using several methods of nondestructive optical testing it is possible to examine the state of conservation and technical execution of the artworks. Furthermore the Imaging laboratory produces the graphic representation of the information obtained regarding the technical realization of the treated artwork and its degradation.
Shortly, the procedures performed to support the restoration workshops are:

>> Production and processing of photographic documentation before, during and after the restoration; techniques: front and back scattered light, grazing light, micro and macro photography;

>> Computational photography is an advaced technique that aims to overcome the limitations of conventional digital cameras to produce more vivid, compelling, and meaningful visualizations of the artworks. The Imaging Lab is the first research department in Italy which applies and developes RTI technique into an integrated diagnostic process, stating from the Self-Portrait of Leonardo documentation set.

>> Multispectral high definition digitization as a scientific measurement of the substance of the art work (techniques: infrared reflectography, false-color infrared and UV, UV fluorescence andUV reflected light, post-production of radiographic data);

>> A specific area of the laboratory developes advanced techniques for 3D surveys, Computer Graphic methods for 3D historical reconstructions and virtual restorations and it also produces multimedia platforms for educational purposes.

Among Imanging Lab’s most important works:

1)      Three-dimensional model and multimedia application of the Chapel of Eleonora by Bronzino at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

Starting from the prototypal set-up tested into the Chapel of Eleonora in Palazzo Vecchio (Florence) an innovative procedure called the “Eleonora Procedure” (CCR patent pending method) enabled to obtain 3D digital imaging, orthophotos and high-resolution panoramic images, contextually providing a complete campaign of multspectral analysis. Such 3Dmultispectral high definition digitization is one more efficient way to collect the whole documentation and investigation in one operation. The scientific measurements are organised and made accessible for technical, educational or informative purposes within multimedia applications and for virtual restoration. The attractive results of the first trial stage in Florence are now available to the public through a multimedia interactive totem located at the entrance of the chapel: it was officially presented during the Bronzino Exhibition in Palazzo Strozzi at the beginning of 2011.

2)      Three dimensional survey of the Chapel of the Massacre of the Innocents at the Sacro Monte In Varallo Sesia (in the Piedmont region, north-western Italy)

The documentation of the interior was particularly complex due to the presence and overlapping of different types of artefacts (wall paintings, ceramic statues, pottery, wooden and textile artefacts).  An integrated strategy was indispensable for survey campaign carried out according to the methods of “Eleonora Procedure”- it enabled the detection of the geometry and location of the statues, , and integrally map the pigmentatesurfaces.

3)      Multimedia platform to collect diagnostic, historical and photographic data of the Kongo Rikishi, a large wooden statue for the Museum of Oriental Art in Turin

The experimental digital imaging of the wooden statue and post-processing of the tomographic slices enable the extraction of three-dimensional digital models of staples, nails, coins and other non-wooden components. It was also possible to reference them with the 3D shape of the statue digitally acquired by means of a 3D laser scanner from the Imaging Laboratory. During that trial stage it was defined a procedure for integrating laser scanner data and CT data and provide powerful new tools and approach to cultural heritage curators for analysis, conservation and restoration.

4)      Historical and virtual reconstruction of the architectural complex of the Reggia di Venaria Reale near Turin

The constructive evolution of the complex of the Royal Palace of Venaria Reale and its context – historic village and gardens – in the various building configurations attributed to Amedeo di Castellamonte, Michelangelo Garove, Filippo Juvarra and Benedetto Alfieri, was shown in a video-documentary which shows a virtual path through the historical reconstruction. The 3D digital models result from a complete historical and bibliographic documentation, which was critically analysed and studied during meetings with the technical scientific staff of the Royal Palace. This video was produced to guide visitors through an historical tour of the Royal Palace. .

5)      Computer Graphics reconstruction of the Golden Compass Historical Collection of ADI Foundation

On the occasion of the preservation and restoration project of the objects in the Golden Compass Historical Collection, the reconstruction was made in Computer Graphics of some historical works awarded the famous prize and today not represented in the collection. A particularly significant example is represented by the photo realistic animation in Computer Graphics of the work Occultamento by Ugo Lapietra.

6)      Reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) technique and its application on the masterpieces of Leonardo

The RTI technique is part of the multispectral non-invasive diagnostic method and allows to study the surface’s morphology of any kind of product and to get basic information that are hidden to visible light. This innovative technique was applied to two masterpieces by Leonardo, the Self-portrait, preserved in the Royal Library of Turin, on the occasion of the exhibition “Leonardo Genius Myth”  held at the Venaria from 18 November 2011 to 29 January 2012, and on the fresco the Last Supper in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

Learn more about Imaging Lab in the brochure (PDF, 1 Mb)

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