VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL RECOMPOSITION OF FRAGMENTED ECCLESIASTICAL FRESCOES USING A PHOTOGRAMMETRIC APPROACH
Keywords: Photogrammetry, Structure from Motion, Orthophotos, Frescoes, Virtual Recomposition
Abstract. The octagonal domed church of the Christ Antiphonitis in the district of Kyrenia (Cyprus) was originally completely decorated with frescoes along its interior walls. Two of these are exceptional for their artistic and historic value: the story of the Tree of Jesse (a pictorial genealogy of the Virgin) located on the southern wall of the octagon, and the Last Judgment, on the northern wall. Following the invasion of Cyprus by Turkish military forces in 1974, looters stripped many of the region churches, removing an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 icons and several dozen major frescoes and mosaics, intending to sell them illegally on the antique market. The Church of Antiphonitis was among them. The walls with the two biblical episodes suffered major damages and big portions of their pictorial decoration were removed. Since the end of the 1990s, due to efforts of Cypriot authorities, more than 70 fragments of its frescoes returned from USA and Europe to the Byzantine Museum of Nicosia, where they are currently under conservation and restoration for future display. These were digitally documented through high-resolution ortophotos. The inner space of the church was documented by similar means, in order to virtually re-position the frescoes in their original locations. The virtual re-composition of the frescoes along the looted walls helped quantifying the missing parts, correctly re-locate virtually each fragment at its original position, obtain accurate colour information and prepare a digital musealisation product, to be included in the permanent exhibition display at the museum which will feature a 1:1 scale reproduction of the church walls.