The unique frescoes by icon painter Dionysius in the Ferapontov monastery will be digitized

The unique frescoes by icon painter Dionysius in the Ferapontov monastery will be digitized

In April and May of 2017 specialists from the Spanish firm Factum Arte together with the Ziyavudin Magomedov PERI Charitable Foundation and the administration of the Kirillo-Belozersk Museum and heritage site will be making a digital replica of the unique frescoes by the famous icon painter Dionysius that are in the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin at the Ferapontov monastery, which is a UNESCO site.

The public was introduced to the project today, October 21st, in the conference hall of the Kirillo-Belozersk Museum and heritage site.  Eva Rosenthal and Pedro Miró explained how to make a high-quality 3D model of this piece of our cultural heritage using modern technology.

The company’s first experience with putting technology at the service of art came when they made a digital copy of Tutankhamen’s pyramid in Egypt.  Next came the digital copy of the historic Kala-Koreysh site in Dagestan done in cooperation with the PERI Foundation.   Now the specialists from this international concern are facing a complex but very much needed task by making a digital copy of the Dionysius frescoes.  The 3D replica will open access to this achievement from the past for scholars, artists and art lovers; and it will allow the most intensive possible monitoring of the condition of this historic artefact.  If need be, it will permit an indistinguishable copy of anything lost to be used in restoration.   Several scanners will record not only the range of colours in each millimetre of the frescoes but also expose any unevenness in the support layer and the minutest granulations in the painted layer.  After that these data will blend into a single whole that will ultimately appear as a 3D version on the official site of the Kirillo-Belozersk monastery.

Polina Filippova, speaking on behalf of the PERI Foundation, informed Vologda Region that Vladimir Tolstoy, who is an advisor to the President of Russia, had called their attention to the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin at the Ferapontov monastery.  The great-great-grandson of the great Russian author had said that a digital copy of Dionysuis’ works had already been undertaken but had not been completed.  ‘When we came to Vologodchina, we were simply swept away by these unique painted frescoes from the beginning of the 16th century, the like of which is not to be found in Russia or anywhere in the world.  I would just like to say a word of thanks to the administration of the museum and to Elena Shelkova, the head curator of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin, who backed our idea so strongly,’ said Polina Filippova.

For four days in October the international team did preliminary work on the site.  Their purpose was to determine the amount and timeframe for the coming job, see what type of equipment would have to be brought to the Kirillo-Belozersk Museum, and decide how many people would be needed to scan the works of Dionysius and his students.

The PERI Charitable Foundation is gathering promising young photographers from Vologodchina for the job.  The young men and women who are selected by the organizers will be trained in the operation of complex equipment and will be able in the future to use the experience they have gained on other projects devoted to scanning artefacts of our cultural heritage.  Applications to participate in this competition should be submitted by e-mail: