MEETING BETWEEN ART PROFESSIONALS
It was a casual and fortunate encounter: in 2012 Adam Lowe, founder of FACTUM ARTE, worldwide leader for the digital reproduction of art copies, encountered Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, Venetian glass designer. Adam Lowe is stunned by one of Giberto’s creations, an amber glass copy of emperor Octavian Augustus, perfect replica of a XIX century bronze bust. Needless to say he falls in love. Their encounter gives them the idea to reproduce a sculpture in glass by using the ancient lost wax technique. They chose Canova’s (1805-1808) magnificent Paolina Borghese, located at the Borghese Gallery in Rome. Paolina Borghese is a glass sculpture by Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga and Factum Arte, created with the lost wax technique. The sensual shapes of Canova’s “bourgeois princess” are intensified by the luminous color of sanded crystal. Artist: Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga and Factum Arte Title: Paolina Borghese Technique: Lost wax Material: glass Measurements: 98 x 36 x 42 cm Color: sanded crystal Weight: 77 kg The first Paolina Borghese is now in Rome, in a private collection. The same piece has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where it is part of the permanent exhibition of the London Museum. The Paolina Borghese has been on show at the following: • Venice Architecture Biennial, 2016 “ A world of fragile parts” – Victoria and Albert Museum pavilion • The Venice Glass Week, 2017 at Palwer Gallery • Antonio Canova Gipsothèque and Museum, Possagno, from November 8th 2017 to October 28th 2018 THE SCANNING PROCESS AND THE “ETERNAL” PAOLINA Correspondence and negotiation with the Gallery and the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities begin to gain authorization to scan the marvelous Paolina. Less than a year later the approval papers arrive. For three nights, while the Gallery was closed, sophisticated machines were utilized to perfectly scan the statue. At Factum Arte, in Madrid, Adam Lowe and his collaborators obtained a 3D file which was then used to create a perfect copy of the original statue but in a 1:2 scale silicone version. THE TECHNIQUE The silicone Paolina is then shipped to Murano at Maestro Giorgio Giuman’s furnace where the negative of the sculpture is obtained with special rubber. The wax is then drained in the rubber. Once the wax sculpture is obtained, it is introduced in a steel basin and covered in liquid gesso. As soon as it solidifies, the gesso is perforated and inserted in an oven. The melted wax will then drain out of the hole. Once the gesso negative is obtained, it is transported to Empoli where Maestro Giorgio Giuman and Giberto Arrivabene will pour lead glass in the pre heated gesso mold. To correctly temper the 70 kg glass sculpture, it must be enclosed in its own oven for approximately one month. Once the statue is taken out of the oven it is taken back to Murano where it is cleaned and corrected in all its small imperfections. It is then shipped to the mainland where it is sanded.