More on that 'Leonardo' sculpture
September 10 2012
Following my report on the 'Leonardo' sculpture last week, and the potentially reckless taking of a modern mould from a fragile 16thC beeswax original, a distinguished sculptor writes:
To make a mould directly from such a complex wax if genuinely by Da Vinci as Pedretti alleges, would - as you say - be reckless.
Even the most minutely detailed 'piece mould' would risk damaging the original as 'walls' would have to be built on the surface of the original wax to mark the boundaries of each part of the mould.
Though there is clearly a wire armature inside -visible where one foot has fallen off, other extremities would also be at risk during the process if the armature was missing in them too.
However Museums and others can now make non-invasive, non contact replicas of even the smallest 3D objects by laser scanning followed by rapid prototyping using an SLA (stereolithography) file generated and processed from the laser scan.
Replicas can be made directly in wax built up in layers by a form of 3D printing. Following skilled finishing to match the surface of the original, these wax replicas could then be used to make bronzes by the traditional 'lost wax' process. Because the 3D information is digitised replicas can also be easily generated in different sizes.