Expo 2020 Dubai: first pictures of Italian pavilion's dazzling Michelangelo statue

3D replica of the famed marble statue is being created at a laboratory in Florence

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The 3D-printed copy of Michelangelo's David statue for Italy's Expo 2020 pavilion is starting to take shape at a laboratory in Florence, before its arrival in Dubai later this year.

The statue, a replica of the masterpiece at the Academy Gallery in Florence, will be the striking centrepiece of Italy's pavilion when Expo opens later this year.

It was created through a sophisticated digitising process that involved scanning the statue to create a three-dimensional digital twin.

Engineers in Florence used high-tech cameras and mounted laser scanners on stairs to capture microscopic details of the 16th-century marble statue.

The next stage involved 3D printing of the figure, in  14 pieces, before it was assembled by a team of restorers at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence – considered to be one of the world's most important institutes for the conservation and restoration of art.

Their work includes adding the cracks, fractures and abrasions to give it the same character as the original statue.

Paolo Glisenti, Italy's commissioner general for the Dubai Expo, told The National this month that the aim was "to make the first perfect twin of the sculpture Michelangelo" created more than 500 years ago.

“We consider it our main tribute to the Expo visionary message, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” he said.

The replica, made of acrylic resin covered with marble dust, will be the same size as the original and weigh 400 kilograms, with the base weighing 150kg.

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