Bust of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Photosculpture)

Artist: H. Poetschke
Period: 1917
Material: Plaster
Location: Albertina (Dauerleihgabe der Höheren Graphische Bundes-Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt)
Dimensions: 18 x 9 x 7 cm
Scanned: 2016
Scanner: GOM ATOS III Triple Scan

In 1891, the Berlin-based master-bricklayer and inventor patented a “method of reproducing three-dimensional objects with the help of photography.” His method was based on Willème’s principle of radial profile shots arranged around a cylindrical core.

Inanimate objects were placed on a wheel and rotated on their own axis in a darkened room. By positioning a single camera at an angle of slightly less than 90 degrees to the light source, he sought to photographically reproduce even the deeper recesses using lines of light. In the case of a bust, this applied to the areas around the eyes. These profiles, known as light sections, made the internal details more precise. Pötschke used this method to reproduce a bust of Goethe.