Color Film Photograph of a Test Cleaning Area on the Late-Roman Fresco Taken by Survey Photographer Yarko Kobilecky

Feb 5, 2021

Continued from PART TWO...

Outline drawings as well as the indicating of pigment texture in various combinations helped the epigraphic team to find the most suitable solution that equally captures the style and the level of preservation of the original fresco. We deliberately avoided overly simplifying the originals by merely creating a glorified wall map of the frescoes which would be inevitably inferior compared with photographic recording.

It had to be established from the very start that the epigraphic documentation wasn’t meant to be designed to compete with the photographic library the Survey already was in possession of. As extensive color photographs were taken of every inch of the frescoes before and after cleaning, the drawings were not designed to faithfully represent every shade of the original, but rather to provide the necessary clarification of all the features that could be still detected on the walls.

This attempt was in accordance with the Survey’s philosophy, which favors color detail photographs over an epigraphic recording of color if all pigment is well preserved.

The Survey always wanted the epigraphic process of the Roman murals to be a case study for their experimentations in digital documentation. However, when the project started in 2013, tablet computers were neither portable nor powerful enough to be used at the monuments. For this very reason, in-situ documentation started out in the Survey’s traditional fashion. Inventing a hybrid method that starts in a familiar way by penciling on enlargements allowed us to focus on the task by keeping the process simple. Black and white photo enlargements were developed in 25% reduction to the original by Survey photographer, Yarko Kobilecky, that was prepared to receive the mechanical pencil texture to be applied by the artist.

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