FACSIMILE REPRODUCTIONS OF THE WALL PAINTINGS OF THERA
The reproductions of the magnificent wall paintings which decorated the houses of the ancient town of Akrotiri were created by a process originally developed in France by Kodak Pathe, involving the transfer of photographic emulsion,. The company TRANSFER RELIEF pioneered the development of this technology. They used the process to create life size, three dimensional reproductions of the famous Lascaux caves, as well as to recreate the ancient Egyptian tomb of Sennefer with its complete set of frescoes.
The technique itself involves the photogrammetric measurement of the frescoes so that their surface can be sculptured and reconstituted in three dimensions, to a very high degree of accuracy. They are then photographed to produce 20 x 25cm colour negatives. After calibrating and developing the colour photographs (scale 1/1), the photographic emulsion is separated. This produces a gelatine 1/1000mm thick which, due to its natural elasticity, can be transferred onto the reconstituted surface. The results are exceptionally realistic. In order to faithfully reproduce such a particularly fragile collection of works, the production of the Thera fresco facsimiles demanded a very advanced development of this technique. Their creation enables both scholars and the general public to have access to such delicate works of art many of which remain hidden from view.