Panoramic view of the Roman Ambulatory with the Digital Drawings Superimposed over Wilkinson's Watercolor Image

Apr 9, 2021

Continued from PART NINE...

The watercolor sketches made around 1856 by Sir Gardner Wilkinson are known as the most definitive record of the Imperial Cult Chamber and its frescos. No other documentation has been traced so far, exhibiting the chamber's condition in such detail so soon after being excavated early in 1854. The crowning piece of his work, covering six double pages in his sketchbook, is a near-complete view of the room as viewed from the northwest corner. It shows the two halves of the north wall, with the center's entrance, the whole of the exquisitely preserved (at least at the time...) east wall, with the doorway leading into the east side rooms, and the south wall with the apse and the two granite columns.

In this concluding entry, digitalEPIGRAPHY would like to present a mash-up of Wilkinson's watercolor and our own reconstructed versions of the frescos, perfectly aligned with each other. To create this image, we used the greyscale version of the sketch to provide the spatial context of the appropriately scaled and distorted drawings. The portions with fresco coverage were "washed out" by a semi-transparent white background. Elements, such as the columns and the heap of debris still visible in the southwestern corner, were cropped of the watercolor and moved to the foreground to emphasize the image's three-dimensional aspect.

Certain mockup drawings, such as this one can prove the power of digital practices and liberate ourselves from traditional thinking about publications, extending the space where drawings are presented. Digital creation won’t just allow us to achieve unprecedented detail and quality but place the visual material back onto the wall to be observed in the way it was meant to be.

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