|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Friday, August 23, 2019
|Itching to graffiti? Do it digitally on Florence treasures|
A screenshot shows digital graffitis made by visitors at the Giotto's bell tower of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral and archived on the website "Autography" on March 17, 2016 in Florence. The digital message can be done choosing between different tools (pen, marker, paintbrush, spray and pencil), colours and virtual surfaces. Three tablets are now on display in the Giottos bell tower hoping that visitors will leave their marks virtually instead of on the monuments walls. The messages will be stored on the "Autography" website and archived online. VINCENZO PINTO / AFP.
By: Laure Brumont
FLORENCE (AFP).- The days of scribbling "I woz here" on Florence's historic monuments are gone: from now on would-be vandals will be able to graffiti via app instead, with their messages kept for posterity.
"Welcome to Giotto's Campanile!" reads a message on a digital tablet for visitors scaling the Gothic white, green and pink marble tower by the famed Italian architect, which stands at one corner of the Cathedral in the Tuscan city.
"We have been protecting masterpieces for centuries: starting from today we are going to remove graffiti from the Campanile's walls. But if you -- virtually -- leave us a message, we will preserve it: just like a masterpiece," it says.
The walls of the 14th-century bell tower, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have been defiled down the ages by millions of messages left by people climbing the 400 steps to enjoy spectacular views of red-tiled rooftops.
"Three months ago, when we began cleaning the walls, which had never been done before, we asked ourselves how we could avoid all the work going to waste in a short time," said Alice Filipponi, social media manager for Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, a not-for-profit organisation tasked with preserving many of Florence's monuments.
Architect Beatrice Agostini, who heads up the organisation's restoration arm, said the bell tower "was in an incredibly degraded and dirty condition", with all elements -- marble, stone, wood and brick -- damaged by graffiti.
Filipponi said she had "an idea for an app which would allow the visitor to choose the surface (marble or wood for example), the colour and the instrument they want to use (felt pen, paintbrush, aerosol) to leave a virtual message or drawing".
'Pietro was here'
The application, which is named "Autography" and launched last week, is "a first", she told AFP, saying she hoped to sell it to other sites plagued by heritage hoodlums.
Three digital tablets have been installed on the 1st, 3rd and 4th floors of the tower and the messages are stored online (http://autography.operaduomo.firenze.it/). Over 700 personalised scrawls were collected in the first week.
Just like on the tower's walls, where statues of kings and sibyls once stood, the messages range from declarations of adoration, despair over unrequited love and appeals for peace, to the simple "Pietro was here".
They will be printed out each year and filed away in the Cathedral's archives, alongside historic documents such as the deed appointing Renaissance designer Brunelleschi to build the Duomo's dome, and the birth certificate of Lisa Gherardini, widely considered to have been the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
"The idea was to raise awareness among visitors about vandalism, but also give them the chance to leave behind a record, an everlasting sign of their passing through, without damaging the monument," the Opera said in a statement.
From smiley faces to hearts and doodled names, graffiti is the bane of restorers' lives and is laborious to remove.
While the cleaning job on the tower's walls has managed to wipe off most of the pen or paint scribbles, words etched into the stone are still visible despite all efforts.
Undeterred, conservators will turn their scrubbing brushes next year to the Cathedral's dome -- the largest such structure in brick ever constructed -- and install tablets with the Autography app there as well.
© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse
March 23, 2016
Lan Zhenghui's new installation "Ink Monument" debuts at Art Central Hong Kong
Looted artefacts stashed by British art thief recovered by Italian and Swiss police
Asia Week New York, with 45 international galleries particpating, rings up $130 million in total sales
Premier selection of galleries to participate in Art Basel's 2016 edition in Hong Kong
"Contemporary Artists vs. The Masters: Homage, Battle, Reclamation" on view in Vermont
'Holy Grail' Beatles record sold by Omega Auctions, based in Warrington to British collector
People share images on social media of Belgium's most famous creation in tears
A seal commissioned by Robert the Bruce is at risk of being exported from the UK
Cincinnati Art Museum launches new website with access to online artworks and teacher resources
Local donors strengthen Virginia Museum of Fine Art's contemporary collection
Yinka Shonibare MBE creates a major new work for Turner Contemporary in Margate
Cleveland Museum of Art announces new acquisitions by Raoul Dufy, Yves Tanguy and Ben Shahn
Exhibition presents rarely seen photographs relating to the early stages of the band Public Image Ltd
Abraham Lincoln letter to promote members of the Irish Brigade sold for $23,874
£2.6m grants bring first Scottish Creation Centre a giant step closer
Dreweatts and Bloomsbury to sell the Contents of Finchcocks Musical Museum
Itching to graffiti? Do it digitally on Florence treasures
Artists from Greater China commissioned to create new works for Guggenheim
Thorsten Brinkmann's "The Great Cape Rinderhorn" on view at Rice University Art Gallery
Andy Warhol: Shadows on view at Honor Fraser Gallery
2016 edition of Dubai Photo Exhibition welcomes thousands of visitors over four days
Art Fund helps leading regional museums collect major artists' films
Remarkable film by acclaimed young artist acquired by Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Conservation reveals Wellington Collection work was painted by Titian's Workshop
2.- New dinosaur discovered after lying misidentified in university's vaults for over 30 years
3.- Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre outtakes and stills sold for a combined $26,880
4.- National gallery reveals conserved Italian altarpiece by Giovanni Martini da Udine
5.- London's Tate Modern evacuated after child falls, teen arrested
6.- Bavarian State Minister of the Arts restitutes nine works of art
7.- Boy thrown from London's Tate Modern is French tourist visiting UK
8.- Child thrown from London gallery has broken spine, legs and arm
9.- £10 million Turner masterpiece may leave British shores
10.- Tourists banned from sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.