A digital twin of Michelangelo’s David in Argentina

Julieta Barrera |

Resistencia (Argentina) (EFE).- Without a Goliath lurking or Marco’s Florentine setting or the Medici in power, Michelangelo’s David – or, more strictly, a 21st century twin of his – stands enormous and majestic in northern Argentina.

In a public space, where art thrives in what is known as the ‘City of Sculptures’, it stands more than five meters high and identical to the marble original that can be seen in the Academy of Florence, the David of Resistance, capital of the province of Chaco.

With nearly 700 sculptures distributed in streets, parks, squares and other promenades, the city showed off its art, but longed to enjoy, without having to cross the ocean, one of the most iconic universal works of art.

That of Resistencia “is a love story of people with sculpture that is more than 60 years old,” José Eidman, president of the Urunday Foundation, organizer of the International Biennial of Resistencia Sculptures, which promoted the laborious endeavor, told EFE. to install a Chaco David in the Centennial Dome of that city.

Photograph provided by the Urunday Foundation showing a replica of Michelangelo’s David during an event on March 6, 2024, in the city of Resistencia, Chaco Province (Argentina). EFE/Pablo Caprarulo/Urunday Foundation

This love began with an initiative, that of the founders of the Fogón de los Arrieros, the most famous of the cultural spaces in Resistencia, who decades ago decided to install works of art in the streets to “beautify public spaces.”

This tradition is replicated today in the permanent contribution of works, which after the international open-air sculpture biennials, such as the one to be held from July 13 to 21, become part of Resistencia’s heritage.

David’s own feat

“That dream that seemed a bit impossible began to take shape in 2020,” says Eidman.

A David of his own was the dream of the prestigious Chaco sculptor Fabriciano Gómez (1944-2021), promoter of the city’s first national open-air sculpture competition and original member of the Urunday Foundation.

“Fabriciano dreamed that this city, recognized and respected in the world of art and culture, would have, nestled in its public space, one of the works that he considered one of the most important in the world of art,” he says.

Within the framework of the celebrations for the Centennial of the Independence of Argentina (1910), a first-cast tracing (direct replica of the original) of David arrives in the country, which is today preserved in the Ernesto de la Museum of Comparative Sculpture and Tracings. Cárcova, in Buenos Aires.

“There was an enormous challenge ahead, to be able to make from that tracing, considered first-grade, a reproduction to bring to Resistencia,” he says.

The National University of the Arts, on which the museum depends, did not authorize the use of a traditional technique, since it involved applying materials and weight to the work. Therefore, the central challenge was to find a non-invasive technique.

The solution: “We researched and found a fabulous team that handles high-precision three-dimensional technology.”

Photograph provided by the Urunday Foundation showing a replica of Michelangelo’s David during an event on March 6, 2024, in the city of Resistencia, Chaco Province (Argentina). EFE/Pablo Caprarulo/Urunday Foundation

“The first thing we said is: ‘Yes!’”, says enthusiastically the sculptor Gisela Kraisman, who, together with Denise Di Federico, completed the work: “We knew we could do it, but we hadn’t done it. “We believed it was possible, but the opportunity had to come.”

After obtaining the permits, the high-definition digital scan was carried out, after which the molds were made: “This is how the digital twin of Michelangelo’s David was obtained, and from that twin we were able to take the molds (…) the next step was print it,” details the artist.

“We did a traditional casting inside the 3D printed molds,” he comments on that step in which they used nautical resins, fibers and calcium carbonate, “materials that harden and look like a stone, but weigh three times less and resist exposure.” outdoor”.

Then there were 158 tacels (fragments of the replica) that had to be fitted onto a metal skeleton calculated by engineers from the National University of the Northeast: “The making process took about five months, it was very intense; We dedicate our soul, our love and our body to it 24/7,” says Di Federico.

“You can’t do a job of this magnitude if someone doesn’t want it very much, and this city wanted it very much. It’s incredible, they put determination and, above all, confidence into it. I would say they are a little crazy… That’s how you get there,” concludes Kraisman.

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