The Old Town Gothic Madonna has “revived” thanks to a sophisticated 3D model

Prague, April 6th, 2020. Art lovers have lost the chance to visit the exhibitions in person for a time. But they don´t have to despair. Modern technologies are able to bring selected artefacts to them remotely over the Internet, sometimes even in 3D format, allowing them to view them from several angles. For example, the City of Prague Museum in cooperation with the association CESNET and MUSOFT.CZ has prepared a new presentation of the Gothic statue of the Madonna from the Old Town Hall in the form of an interactive 3D model, which complements the collection object in the permanent exhibition and can be seen also on the museum’s and CESNET´s website.

The Madonna statue, created around 1380, is a valuable item in the collection of the City of Prague Museum. Until 1945 it decorated the corner of the Old Town Hall in Prague, where it was replaced by a replica. In 2017 and 2018 the original statue was restored by Jakub Kachút at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where also CESNET experts created a detailed 3D model.

They used photogrammetry and optical scanning. To do this, they needed to take approximately 300 photographs using a specific procedure. The created model then had to be completed manually, and then added the possibility of interaction using special software Blender.

The resulting 3D model serves both for detailed documentation of the state of the statue before and after restoration and for its presentation to the public in a completely new way. “Every exhibition has an educational and cultural dimension. It should inspire the visitor to reflect on the subject and at the same time entertain the visitor. We think that modern technology will help to fulfil both of these prerequisites and at the same time bring value to the traditional way of presenting collections,“ says Sven Ubik from CESNET.

During normal operation, visitors to the permanent exhibition in the main building of the City of Prague Museum have the opportunity to see both the original statue and its touch panel interactive 3D visualization. It is also available on the Internet, even in current extraordinary times. On the sophisticated 3D model, people can see the artefact from all sides, but at the same time they can remove and supplement the various parts that were created during the restoration. Historical sources on the original form of the statue differ in accuracy, and therefore it was decided to complete the statue with only selected details. However, within the 3D visualization, candidates can compare all versions considered. The visualization also includes labels for various parts of the statue.

Tomáš Dvořák from the City of Prague Museum adds: “The advantage may be the possibility to get acquainted with the subject perfectly even from a distance, which concerns presentations on the Museum website. Equally interesting is the interconnection of a real exhibited object in the exhibition with its 3D model, where it is possible to study the hidden or less visible parts of the collection object. Our goal is to create more 3D models of suitable collection items, while encouraging colleagues from other museums to also use this method to present their collections.”

The CESNET Association has modelled several other historical objects from the collections of the National Museum in Prague and the City of Prague Museum in the same way as in the case of the Old Town Madonna. For this purpose, it has developed interactive visualization software that is easy to use across a range of display devices: from touch screens to visitor mobile phones to large LCD panel walls. Each 3D model installation is connected to the Internet, allowing it to be easily managed and updated remotely. The procedure used to make interactive 3D models and created visualization software can be used for any collection item.

“We strive for precision in terms of dimensions, detail and material fidelity. This is very important for 3D models to be used in research and study,“ adds Sven Ubik. 3D visualization of objects also allows their presentation in the form of virtual exhibitions or joint exhibitions with foreign institutions.

In cooperation with historians, CESNET has already selected several other artefacts suitable for creating sophisticated interactive presentations using 3D models.


3D model of the statue of Madonna can be viewed on the website of the City of Prague Museum and on the CESNET website


The development of interactive visualization software of the CESNET Association has been realized within the project Using 3D Models for the National Infrastructure of Memory Institutions (TL1000152),
supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic in the ÉTA programme.





The CESNET Association was founded by Czech universities and the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1996. It has built and developed the national CESNET e-infrastructure designed for science, research and education, including a computer network, computing grids, data storage and an environment for collaboration, and offers a wide range of services to universities, scientific research facilities and other institutions. The association also performs its own research and development of information and communication technology and represents the Czech Republic in important international projects, particularly in the building the pan-European GÉANT network or grid projects ( The CESNET Association places great emphasis on network security, services and user protection issues.
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Last change: 6.4.2020