Reproducing art is “art”: the boxer and his replica

In the past, making copies was considered a way of putting models into circulation. In the historical and social context, originality was not such a prized value, while it was the ability to make or do. Copyists were substantially artists, and the artists we now consider the Renaissance greats were copyists too.
Copies have always been a favourite training tool in art academies. Today this challenge finds a meaning if the whole process capitalizes on outstanding contemporary competences.
This video programme production gives an account of the material copy of a great work of Greek art: The Seated Boxer from the Roman National Museum. The goal was to make a work that is totally akin to the original, to be displayed in exhibitions or other events in Italy or abroad. As a result, the original work will no longer need to be moved, guaranteeing its further protection and conservation.

The reproduction project was based on different technical and technological competences, which worked together to product two artefacts: one material - the physical copy of the sculpture - and one digital - the 3D model.

After making the digital twin and material copy of David by Michelangelo, professor Grazia Tucci and the University of Florence GeCoLab designed and directed the making of the copy of the Boxer. The process involved a survey of the original, followed by the construction of the digital model and the relative material copy with metallic surface finish.
The video, made in collaboration with the Roman National Museum, has two main stars: the original work and its reproduction. A single subject, it is made of two distinct parts which play on the contrast between the doubles: past and present, original and copy.
The original work was filmed at the Palazzo Massimo site of the Roman National Museum, while the copy was filmed on the day of its arrival at another of the museum’s locations, the Baths of Diocletian in Rome.
The copy of the Boxer will be on display until 9 October 2022 in Beijing as part of the "Tota Italia. Origins of a Nation. 4th cent. BC - 1st cent. AD” exhibition at the National Museum of China, as documented in the last scene of the video.

A creation of the University of Florence with the National Roman Museum
Scientific content: Grazia Tucci 
Director: Franco Montanari 
3D modelling and digital images: Alessandro Conti and Lidia Fiorini 
Editing: Guido Melis 
GeCoLab Communication 
University of Florence - Multimedia Laboratory - 2022
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