The Digital Sculpture Project

Augustus of Prima Porta

With the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (grant nr. HD-51022) and in partnership with the Antikensammlung of the University of Erlangen and with industrial sponsor Breuckmann GmbH, the Digital Sculpture Project digitized the Erlangen cast of the Augustus of Prima Porta. Besides being one of the most important and best-preserved portraits of the Emperor Augustus, the statue is important because when it was found in 1863 in the imperial villa of Prima Porta, it still preserved extensive traces of the color originally covering the surface.

The goals of the project were: (1) to create a state 3D model of the statue in its present condition (Model 1); and (2) to create two reconstruction models reflecting our knowledge about how the statue was painted. The restoration model (Model 2) shows only those colors whose traces were found on the surface of the statue.

Model 1 was based upon 3D data capture of a excellent cast in the Antikensammlung of the University of Erlangen. Previous research by The Digital Sculpture Project has established that the difference between a 3D digital model of a good cast and that of the original is generally insignificant for most archaeological applications; and that in any case casts are more receptive to 3D data capture than are marble originals because of the properties of materials such as plaster, resin, and marble. The Digital Sculpture Project was pleased to accept the invitation to scan the cast of the Augustus of Prima Porta in Erlangen as part of a larger projected program of collaboration.

Augustus Model Main Page

Copyright © 2009-11. Last updated: October 1, 2011.

The Digital Sculpture Project is an activity of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory.