Indiana University has entered into an agreement with the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy regarding the museum’s collection of Greek and Roman sculpture. The Uffizi and IU’s Virtual World Heritage Laboratory will digitize and create 3D models of the sculptures and make them available online by 2020.

IU says the 1,250 pieces of art comprise the third largest collection of its kind in an Italian state museum. The agreement comes as IU President Michael McRobbie leads a delegation this week to Italy and Poland. 

"This is a historic and hugely ambitious project, one that will generate unparalleled opportunities for scholarly engagement with one of the greatest cultural institutions in the world and its legendary collections," McRobbie said. "Indeed, it would be nearly impossible to overstate the cultural and educational impact of this extraordinary and inventive collaboration. IU’s scholarly expertise in ancient art and culture, as well as our technological expertise, will be leveraged to bring to virtual light a collection of classical antiquities that has inspired some of the greatest artistic geniuses in the history of Western art."

Bernard Frischer, professor of informatics and director of IU’s Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, will lead the five-year project. It will include training of IU informatics and art history students in 3D data capture, digital modeling and interactive online publication, creating 3D restoration models and publishing the models online.

IU says another goal of the project is to launch a relationship between the Uffizi Gallery and the IU Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, which could include loans of works of art, joint exhibitions and new virtual gallery tours. 

When completed, the 3D images will be stored on the digital preservation network. You can find more information on the project by clicking here.