THE DIGITAL EPHEMER: HENRY III OF FRANCE IN VENICE (1574)
Keywords: Cultural Heritage, Ephemeral architecture, Venice, Photogrammetry, 3D reconstruction, 3D modelling, Andrea Palladio, Jacopo Sansovino
Abstract. Sometimes digital reconstruction interfaces with the ephemeral aspect of the Cultural Heritage. Photogrammetric survey, integrated with the most up-to-date visualization technologies, aims to the production of 3D models that can recreate and document the artifacts that were made to be short-lived.
The paper deals with the documentation of an historical event: the stay of Henry III of France in Venice in 1574. This happening has been studied as part of the journey from Poland to France, undertaken by the king through Austria and northern Italy. Many royal events were organized and among the architectural and sculptural works that were made for the occasion, two stand out: the ephemeral triumphal arch and loggia designed by Andrea Palladio for the grand entry of the King and the three hundred sugar sculptures cast from moulds obtained from Jacopo Sansovino’s workshop.
Historical research, iconography and cartography, along with the photogrammetric survey of some artworks still visible today, allowed the three-dimensional reconstruction of the temporary structures and sugar sculptures created for this historical event and made to last only for the ten days of his stay.
The purpose of this research is to map the movements of the King and recreate the works of art that were created for him in various parts of Venice, according to a geographic and scientific approach, by framing them in space and time and employing the 3D models to project the observer into 16th century Venice.
The integration of methods and techniques pertaining to geomatics and three-dimensional computer graphics allow us to animate and reconstruct images of no longer existing places and works of art which were made to be fleeting but scenic at the same time and arouse amazement between the leading personalities of those times.
The “digitalization of the ephemeral” aims to bring these artifacts back to memory, following a meticulous process based on the examination of the historical sources together with cartographic data and a scientific survey.