Medardo Rosso: Analysing Differences in Wax Castings

Factum Foundation is collaborating with Dr Sharon Hecker on a project aimed at contributing to the conservation, study, and dissemination of the work of Medardo Rosso (1858-1928). The project involves the application of non-contact digital technology to obtaining high-resolution 3D data of a series of bronzes and wax sculptures by Rosso.

3D models of the Bambino Ebreo

Apart from creating an archive of highly detailed models of the shape, texture, and colour of the different artworks, the main goal is to establish an objective comparison (in terms of form, dimensions, etc.) among the existing versions of famous serial sculptures – such as Bambino Ebreo or La Portinaia (Concierge). One line of work has involved recording a selection of the busts, comprising both wax and bronze casts, from the Bambino Ebreo series using close-range photogrammetry, and in specific cases, complementing it with structured-light scanning as an additional technique. Factum Foundation has recorded five Bambino Ebreo busts in different museums and private collections, around Venice and other locations in Italy.

Based on the captured information, 3D models have been prepared and made accessible as online viewers, enabling Dr Hecker and other experts to inspect the data from any computer or device. In addition to the items recorded by Factum Foundation, another 9 models previously recorded have been added to the viewing platform, making a total of 16 items. Thanks to the viewer, it is possible to compare side by side any pair of models (zooming in on specific details, rotating the viewpoint, etc.) facilitating a close inspection of the busts in an intuitive, easy way.

A second line of work has focused on La Portinaia, another relevant work by Rosso of which various versions exist. Factum Foundation has recorded the sculpture at Tortona’s Museo Il Divisionismo and Venice’s Museo Ca’Pesaro. On June 9th 2023, Factum Foundation was invited to participate in the Study Day exploring Medardo Rosso’s sculpture, an event was organised by Fondazione Cassa del Risparmio di Tortona and curated by Dr. Sharon Hecker. Among the speakers, Carlos Bayod presented Factum’s digital recording of the original sculpture, which took place in October 2023 and resulted in the creation of a detailed 3D model for on-screen inspection of the Concierge‘s shape and surface. By request of the Pinacoteca Il Divisionismo, Factum also produced two physical reproductions of the artwork: a white 3D print and a facsimile made in natural beeswax and plaster. The reproductions were presented during the study day and will remain in the museum’s collection to facilitate the conservation, study and dissemination of Rosso’s working process.

The cast and the facsimile of Medardo Rosso’s Concierge © Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Foundation

Render from the 3D model © Factum Foundation

Render from the 3D model © Factum Foundation

Render from the 3D model © Factum Foundation

Detail from the facsimile of the beeswax maquette © Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Foundation