A Painting Comes Home (or at Least a Facsimile)

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— Can — and should — technology right a historical wrong? That’s a question Italians have been asking since a facsimile of Veronese’s 16th-century “Wedding at Cana” was installed on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore a few weeks ago.

At the heart of the debate is the digital re-creation of this vast 1563 painting, which Napoleon’s forces removed from the refectory in the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore 210 years ago and took back to France as war booty.

The facsimile, by the Madrid enterprise Factum Arte, is a stunningly accurate replica of the 732-square-foot canvas. Details are reproduced down to the most minute topography, including the raised seams rejoining the panels that Napoleon’s troops cut the painting into when they transported it to France in 1797. (The original hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.)

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