Since 1908, two sculptures from the 16th century that are masterpieces of French Renaissance art have been on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. But, precise 3D copies will be created and installed in the French castle where the originals formerly resided thanks to current technology and an unique agreement.

The facsimiles project is the result of a unique collaboration between the Dordogne department in southwest France and the Met, as the New York Museum is known. The “Entombment of Christ” and “Pieta with Donors” statues are both from the early 1500s and were created by an unidentified sculptor.

The replicas will be created over the upcoming months in collaboration with Semi tour, a Dordogne-based firm for tourism promotion. The originals were displayed in the chapel of the Biron château in the Dordogne for approximately 400 years.

The expansive stronghold, which was built on a useful promontory, contains structures from several periods, including a dungeon from the 12th century. The chateau, which has been damaged and rebuilt numerous times throughout the years, has belonged to the Dordogne department since 1978, when it was designated a historic monument, according to Dordogne President Germinal Peiro, who visited the Property.

Francis Rigenbach, the head of the Perigord atelier, and C. Griffith Mann, the curator of mediaeval art at the Met, gave an AFP interview in which they outlined the technologies that will be used to replicate the sculptures.
Craftsmen won’t need to touch or disturb the monumental original sculptures since 3D scanners will develop digital photos of them that can be used to create reproductions.
By creating a digital “cast,” according to Rigenbach, “we may use non-invasive approaches” to create exact replicas.

Although both statues are thought to be extraordinarily well-preserved, he continued, “90 percent of the artistic labour” will require duplicating wear and tear, such as the patina on the ageing marble originals.
Rigenbach stated that the reproductions, which will be placed back in their original locations in the Biron chapel, will cost about 350,000 euros ($375,000).

His studio is well-known for replicating the famous Lascaux cave, complete with its ancient wall art, for a museum in Montignac, northern Perigord. According to Sebastien Cailler, who oversees the Biron chateau, this gives tourists the impression that they are actually in the cave, which was shuttered 60 years ago to prevent harm to the delicate location. And you’ll undoubtedly experience the same emotion as if you were in front of the original sculptures when you see these replicas in Biron, he told AFP in New York.

In an unsuccessful attempt to get the statues back in the 1950s, Dordogne and the castle at Biron engaged in four years of negotiations with the Met. Four years after restarting negotiations with the Met in 2018, Perigord authorities inked the deal in New York on February 15 after conducting technology trials. Mann added that his museum, with its millions of annual visits, “looks like the safest place to have the sculptures for their long-term preservation,” which is ensured by this kind of uncommon agreement

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