On Thursday 13 September, Karel Luyben led a discussion including representatives from different corners of TU Delft, with the aim of replacing the with a virtual reconstruction! 

Earlier, TU Delft already organised a competition with the aim of replacing Prometheus with a new sculpture. Willem de Jager won the competition with a design that comprises a large sheet of Corten steel and features a cut-out silhouette of Prometheus, indicating “The emptiness that it left behind”. This work is to be produced in the near future and unveiled next year.
In addition to this new statue of Prometheus, Luyben also wanted a virtual statue that resembled the original as closely as possible.  And this presented an interesting engineering challenge: will we at TU Delft be able to make a new Prometheus based on old or recent images of the statue?

Emiel Hendriks, (EEMCS), Zjenja Doubrovski (IDE), Ben Gorter (CEG) and Erwin van Asbeck – who came up with this idea (Science Centre Delft) – got together at Luyben’s office to decide whether this project could be achieved within reasonable constraints.

Eventually they decided to make a 3D laser scan of a remake of the Prometheus statue that was present at the KIVI, which – unfortunately – is not an exact copy. The result is a rough, virtual form. The same statue is being used to make a 360-degree photo comprising 72 images, which will make it possible to film the statue. Doubrovski’s students (Product Engineering) will be working with this to transform it into a virtual model.

However a truly splendid copy and good likeness can only be made using existing photographs of the lost statue. These photos must be combined as well to create a virtual statue, but this is easier said than done. The photos will also eventually be used to create the right texture and details. This second method will also be used by Doubrovski’s students.

As many good-quality photoraphs of Prometheus are needed as possible to achieve a good result. Software will then be used to correct, adjust the perspective of, scale and so on the (preferably digital) photos, to collectively throw light on Prometheus from all angles.


Have you taken a photo of the statue in the not-too-distant past? Then please email it to prometheus@nieuwemeestersdelft.nl.

The project agency mentioned in the email address, Nieuwe Meesters Delft, is an alliance between the Municipality of Delft and TU Delft focusing on the development and application of ICT for topics relating to national heritage. The agency mediates, facilitates and provides all kinds of work – also for the new Virtual Prometheus.

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