Digital Presidential Busts

Houdon-style Presidential Busts

Projects - Houdon-Style Busts

In recent years, Direct Dimension has worked on many amazing art projects with historical significance, such as the Liberty Bell and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. One of our longstanding projects has been a partnership with Dr. John Lanzalotti, a plastic surgeon and sculptor/owner of Williamsburg Sculpture, located in Williamsburg, VA. Dr. Lanzalotti sculpts intricately-detailed lifelike busts of our nation's founding fathers, as well as other historical figures of the Civil War era and even more recent public figures. His busts are meticulously crafted in the style of Jean-Antoine Houdon, a prominent eighteenth century French portrait sculptor that created many famous marble busts of early Americans.

Dr. Lanzalotti's marble busts have been placed in many important places. His life size Meriwether Lewis marble bust, for example, is displayed in Virginia’s Capitol Building in Richmond and he has also busts of William and Mary at the historic city of Williamsburg.

Direct Dimensions works closely with Dr. Lanzalotti to create precise replications of his sculptures in different scales such as one-third, one-half one-quarter, and life-sized. Over the years, our technicians have laser scanned many of his originals in various materials including clay, plaster, marble, and wood. Once scanned, the raw 3D data is converted into a "watertight" mesh surface that can then be further refined in the digital realm.

Dr. Lanzalotti often visits Direct Dimensions to work directly with our staff to digitally sculpt his models in the computer. With our advanced software and technical coaching, he uses his surgery skills to add his touch of life to the faces of these famous figures. "My art is a direct reflection of my medical training. Sculpting is like plastic surgery and computer sculpting is like digital surgery," noted Dr. Lanzalotti.

Scanning has been performed both at Direct Dimensions’ lab as well as at his Williamsburg studio. In most cases, the busts were laser scanned with our FaroArm-based laser line scanners to capture the fine detail and undercuts. The resultant "point clouds" of raw laser data are then digitally modeled by DDI using PolyWorks, Rapidform, and Geomagic software.

The completed 3D models were sometimes used to create exact copies at a smaller scale using rapid prototype 3D printing. These smaller busts can then be used as casting patterns for cold cast marble reproductions, popular with gift shops as fine collectibles. In other cases the 3D digital models are also used to recreate the original busts in a larger scale milled marble, cast bronze, and etched crystal. In all cases, the accuracy of the digital reproduction process minimizes hand-finishing by the artist.

Thru the years, Direct Dimensions has worked on many great American sculptures by Lanzalotti such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, Marquis de Lafayette, Robert E. Lee, and Meriwether Lewis, among others.

Dr. Lanzalotti says that working with Direct Dimensions has been a positive experience. "It's been excellent," he says. "It's a very creative process. The staff at Direct Dimensions really understands my art so it's very collaborative."

Williamsburg Sculpture