Uffizi Gallery, Indiana University Launch Art Digitization Project

August 28, 2018
      A machine scans the face of a bust for viewing online.
(Photo: Indiana University)

A partnership between Indiana University and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, has come to a new front in the world of ancient art - the scanning and digital documentation of of the Uffizi’s collection of Greek and Roman statues for detailed online viewing.

The collection includes statues, busts, funeral altars, sarcophagi and other relics dating back to the 15th and 18th centuries. Previously, a trip to Florence was necessary to view the historically acclaimed pieces, but a new digitization project spearheaded by Indiana University allows the public to see the art from all angles without setting foot out the door.


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The digital artwork is available on several online platforms, like the Uffizi’s website and the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory’s Digital Sculpture Project, which let interested viewers see the artwork in angles that would be impossible in the museum.

Screenshot of Uffizi Gallery website with several sculptures available to view. The Uffizi Gallery's website allows users to view a variety of high-resolution Greek and Roman sculptures. (Photo: Uffizi Gallery)

The collaboration between the Uffizi Gallery and Indiana University began in 2016 when IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Uffizi Gallery director Eike Schmidt announced the digitization project.

An Indiana University press release detailed the project, which includes training IU art history and informatics students the ins and outs of capturing 3D data, digital modeling and interactive online publishing. Over the summer, IU’s team digitized 61 statues in the Uffizi and the Villa Corsini, the annex where the Uffizi stores works not on display.

A new version of the Uffizi’s website, was launched Tuesday, August 7 in a ceremony at the museum, with IU Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate and other faculty in attendance.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie has remained instrumental throughout the entire collaboration process with the Uffizi Gallery, stating, “The unveiling of this new website marks a first major milestone in a collaboration that will generate unparalleled opportunity for scholarly engagement with materials housed in one of the world's oldest and very finest galleries."

IU President McRobbie takes a close look at a sculpture of two wrestlers. IU President McRobbie looks at a sculpture in the Uffizi Gallery during a 2016 trip to Italy. (Photo: IU Global Gateway Network)

Scans of over 300 pieces are now available to view over at the Uffizi Gallery’s website.

Featured photo courtesy of Indiana University.