At Large  August 10, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Uffizi Gallery Debuts Classical Sculptures in 3D

Indiana University

A sculpture at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, is scanned as part of the process to digitize the art in 3D.

This week the Uffizi Gallery made a significant portion of its remarkable collection much more accessible. Through a partnership with Indiana University, scholars from both institutions have been working for two years to create 3D scans of the museum’s classical sculptures. Launching this week, the Uffizi Digitization Project website hosts over 300 digitized sculptures and fragments from the collection. The digital models offer views of the sculptures and fragments heretofore only available through in-person inspection. Users can rotate and zoom in on the objects to examine every detail, providing a kind of access and intimacy that visitors at the museum can’t even experience.

The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Digitization Project website currently contains over 300 digitized sculptures and fragments from the collection.

Open to the public since 1765, the Uffizi boasts one of most important art collections in the world. Some of art history’s most significant Renaissance works are housed in the beautiful 16th century palace. One of the most visited art museums in the world, the Uffizi saw over two million visitors in 2016 alone. During the high summer tourism season, wait times to get into the museum can stretch to five hours. 

Despite these huge visitation numbers, the Uffizi is still seeking ways to reach a broader audience. For those of us who cannot weather the waits or make it to Florence, online access to their collections is a necessity.

A selection of the works available online through the Uffizi Gallery's partnership with Google Arts & Culture.

The Uffizi hosts online exhibitions, called HyperVisions, that provide in-depth analyses and high definition photos of their works. They have also partnered with Google Arts & Culture to create virtual reality tours of the galleries and high-quality digital images of the collection.

The Uffizi Digitization Project marks significant progress in their continued goal to make their collection accessible to people around the globe. These new 3D models help to document and preserve works for the future, as well as advancing present-day scholarship by making them available to researchers around the world.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.