Download the files at http://thingiverse.com/thing:196060

20150101 Pieta 3D Model by Cosmo Wenman

“© 1982 MMA”—Inscription by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

This 3D capture was made from a marble resin cast molded directly from the Pietà. A label on the back of the cast reads:

“This facsimile copy is authorized by the Vatican Museums. It is produced under the supervision of the Reproduction Studio of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from direct impression molds of the original sculpture developed by the Department of Scientific Research of the Vatican Museums.”

I imagine the Vatican and Met took a great deal of care making these molds and casts, and as a good cast is extremely accurate, this model may be the most faithful digital copy of Mary available to the public until the Vatican freely publishes their own 3D survey of the Pietà–if and when that ever happens.

The copyright notice the Met scrawled into the back would be funny if it weren’t so problematic. Michelangelo’s work is so clearly in the public domain that it’s hard to imagine what legitimate purpose the Met could have had in mind.

No one has a copyright in Michelangelo’s work, and IP is screwed up enough without people who should know better making nonsensical or careless claims that chill and thwart the free use of public domain works.