A 3D printed replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David on display at the Dubai World’s Fair


In the field of architecture, design and art, 3D printing has proven time and time again that it can be very useful. From Jakub Pastuszak, who 3D prints artwork for the Amber Museum in Gdansk, to Scan the World, which uses 3D technologies to reproduce works of art, the applications are varied. And now the technology can be found in one of the world’s most important art exhibitions. If you are an art lover, you already know that the World Expo 2020 in Dubai kicked off this year on October 1. Postponed due to the health crisis, the Expo will continue until March 31. The opportunity for each participating country to have a pavilion throughout the 6 months, with the aim of addressing topics related to “connecting minds” and “building the future” through sustainability and mobility.

And to say the least, the Italian pavilion has adapted perfectly to the themes of the exhibition. Thanks to 3D technologies, they managed to reproduce the famous statue of Michelangelo representing the biblical hero David, in his fight against the giant Goliath. To accomplish this task, a project that took place over 4 months according to Grazia Tucci, professor of geometry at the University of Florence and coordinator of the project, the engineering department of the University of Florence collaborated with the industrial group Swedish Hexagon, specializing in new technologies. A beneficial partnership on several levels, to such an extent that Ms. Tucci believes “We now have essentially the most reliable replica of the David.”

3D printed statue of David

The 3D printed replica is ten times lighter than the original. (Photo credits: Massimo Sestini for ItalyExpo2020)

A “digital twin” of the statue of David

At 5 meters high, a special tripod had to be designed and thousands of scans performed before the statue of David could be fully digitized. As you can imagine, it was very difficult to find a 3D printer that could print the replica in one go. That is why the project organizers decided to divide the work into 14 printable pieces. Designed from acrylic resin, the art restorers, once the different parts were printed, assembled the different parts of the statue using glue and marble powder. A success for Grazia Tucci, who described the 3D printed replica as a “digital twin” and who hopes, in the long term, to be able to preserve cultural heritage thanks to 3D technologies.

Through this initiative, the organizers of the project, like the Florentine mayor Dario Nardella, hope to offer Florence the opportunity to reconnect with tourists. Since the start of the health crisis, the Renaissance capital has lost no less than 81% of its annual visitors, according to the latest studies on this subject. Mr. Nardella concluded: “The David is a logo of prosperity, a logo of power, of freedom, and in particular a logo of peace,” he said. “So this opportunity is a giant alternative for our mind and to improve our metropolis and our outdated arts in Italy. ” You can learn more about the Italian pavilion at the Dubai Expo HERE.

What do you think of this 3D printed statue of David? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter, with all the latest 3D printing news delivered straight to your inbox!

* Cover photo credits: Antonio Quattrone

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