The digital restoration we performed entailed recovering the work of art’s original appearance and impact by repairing and reconstructing the missing parts of the fresco. To that end, we worked on the basis of high-definition photographs of the wall painting kept in the MNAC. We examined and dealt with the flaws attributable to the passage of time, as well as the marks (cracks, displacements, spots, etc.) caused by the work carried out to preserve the painting. The aim of the restoration process was not only to return the Pantocrator to all its aesthetic glory but also to give it back its meaning and make it easier to interpret, all the while respecting its historical value.
Extracting a flat image of the apse’s painting showed the Pantocrator to be considerably misshapen, a consequence of the apse being cylindrical with an upper section in the shape of a quarter of a sphere. That was the “skin” that we subsequently embedded in the virtual 3D model of the church.
Taking care not to damage or alter the original painting, we digitally restored it by working directly above each affected area, advancing practically a pixel at a time, with a view to matching the original pigment as far as possible. Chromatically speaking, we corrected and accentuated the black profiles of the painting’s figures and elements, in addition to balancing colour tones wherever we encountered wear or degradation due to the passage of time.
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