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National Gallery of Denmark releases digital casts of sculptures

The SMK collections include thousands of plaster casts of everything from heroes and goddesses to warriors and athletes. Recently SMK released a number of the most prominent and high-profile figures from the Royal Cast Collection in the form of 3D images, inviting everyone to reuse, upcycle, share and remix these digital casts.

National Gallery of Denmark releases digital casts of sculptures
3D-image of the Discobolus [Credit: SMK]
In recent years SMK has relinquished its copyright to more than 25,000 works, making photographic images of them freely available to all via Those pictures can be shared, remixed and used exactly as you wish. Now, SMK takes the next step by progressing from 2D photographs to 3D images.

Famous masterpieces and an unknown head

Under the common heading SMK², the museum releases 3D images of six selected plaster casts from the Royal Cast Collection. Works that are considered highlights of Western art history. From 11 November, all interested parties – such as schools, students, artists and designers – can download masterpieces such as Apollo, god of music and protector against evil; The Discobolus, a discus thrower in movement, poised in perfect balance; the naked Venus, goddess of love; and the Doryphorus, the spear-bearer – a muscular soldier ready for battle.

National Gallery of Denmark releases digital casts of sculptures
Photographing a cast [Credit: Magnus Kaslov/SMK]
In addition to six famous masterpieces, the museum also releases a 3D image of a seventh plaster cast: the bust Memnon of Ethiopia. This bust was selected, 3D-scanned and released in collaboration with the Living Archives Research Project at Institutionen för Konst, Kultur och Kommunikation, Malmö University.

By adding this cast, Living Archives calls attention to the Eurocentric art canon that has also shaped the Royal Cast Collection. The white bust portraying a man of African descent highlights how the plaster casts reflect a Western view of the world.

Use the art

The seven 3D images are released into the public domain, allowing everyone to share them, creatively reuse them and remix them for animation and 3D printing purposes. Software such as Adobe Photoshop or the standard application Preview on Apple computers allow users to turn the figures to view them from different angles, and software such as Blender, which is available as a free download, enables them to reshape and animate the figures.

The images are under a Public Domain license, which means that you can use them exactly as you please – including for commercial purposes – without asking permission from the museum or anyone else. However, if you do use the images it is considered polite to include picture credits stating that the images are from the SMK collections, thereby enabling others to find the images and the original work. SMK is highly interested in seeing the various creations that users come up with, so tips and shares are very welcome.

Download 3D-images
Download information about the seven sculptures

Source: Statens Museum for Kunst [December 20, 2016]

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