DS0701 -

Expressive restoration of Gallo­-Romanian statues by virtual sculpture and animation – e-ROMA

Submission summary

The eRoma project aims at revisiting the digitization and virtual restoration of archaeological and fine arts artefacts by taking advantage of the sites from which they were retrieved and the eras they belong to. To do so, e-Roma will develop a new virtual representation both versatile and unified enough to be used for both restoration and animation of digitized artworks. Traditional cardboard models with a fixed and rigid representation will therefore be replaced by interactive dynamic virtual prototypes, to help restore statues and illustrate changes over time.

A first research axis of e-ROMA is to revisit the pipeline of 3D scanning and modelling of art-work, by focusing on accuracy, plausibility and interactivity. This could be associated with real opportunities for restoration and virtual restitution. Breaking with traditional approaches that proceeds from a reconstructed model and forget the measured data, we propose to always exploit the initial measurements from the initial reconstruction to the restoration and virtual sculpture steps. However, the restoration process does not rely on a single statue but also on other existing archaeological remains and historical knowledge. That is why we propose to take advantage of existing similar art-works, but also to bring additional knowledge about human anatomy, behaviour of draped fabric, or the history of sculpture ideals, as well as gestures and carving tools at the time. This activity of virtual restoration and restitution should finally be performed by restorers consistently to what they would do in a non virtual restoration environment. Finally the concept of traceability will be crucial to distinguish between the actual remain and the restoration or creation process.

Centuries of degradation have damaged or even destroyed several statues. From the huge variety of sculptures only a few have come down through the centuries. To bring back this variety, our second research axis aims at generating new statues corresponding to new poses, new faces, and even different occupations or social positions, so as to complement and give meaning to various architectural elements found in excavations. Once again the creation process will remain within the framework of plausible assumptions. e-ROMA finally addresses the problem of generating animated sequences of statues, particularly interesting in the context of promotion and presentation of restitutions for the general public.

e-ROMA brings together researchers from the GeoMod team (LIRIS) in Lyon and IMAGINE (INRIA-LJK) in Grenoble on the theme of cultural heritage, in a project at the crossroads of their respective expertise in computer graphics, while promoting the archaeological wealth of the Rhône-Alpes region. This project will also be undertaken in partnership with the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière and historians from Paris-Sorbonne. Indeed, the restoration and restitution of statues is particularly important for the Museum Lyon-Fourvière, since it holds a large collection of fragmentary stone reliefs, reflecting the high degree of romanisation that characterized Lugdunum. The museum now wants to take advantage of the digital revolution, to help in the reconstruction of a number of them, and imagine the ornamentation of its architectural elements with statues that have now disappeared. The historian of Paris-Sorbonne will be able to share with the entire team the many progresses made for the past twenty-five years, in the knowledge of the art-works of the museum, and more generally of the statuary of imperial times. e-Roma will also involve a professional art-restorer specialized in statues who will be able to guide the model development, by ensuring that it remains coherent with his restoration expertise.

Project coordination

Raphaëlle Chaine (Laboratoire d'InfoRmatique en Image et Systèmes d'information)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LIRIS - CNRS Laboratoire d'InfoRmatique en Image et Systèmes d'information
Inria - Grenoble Rhône-Alpes Centre de recherche Inria Grenoble Rhône-Alpes - IMAGINE
Paris IV Université Paris-Sorbonne
Musée Gallo-Romain Musée Gallo-Romain de Lyon-Fourvière

Help of the ANR 410,874 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2017 - 48 Months

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