The Pinsel.AR project, implemented by Lviv-based NGO Dialog Arts Council in partnership with the Wise Cow online educational platform, presents artistic achievements of the baroque sculptor Johann Pinsel in a format not widely employed in Ukraine: augmented reality. The Culture Bridges grant created five 3D high-precision models by Pinzel's master, launched a project site and recorded video lectures on the artist's work. Culture Bridges enabled the production of five 3D high-precision models of Pinsel sculptures, launch our website and record of a video course on Pinsel's work which has been posted at

Pinsel.Ar is a one-of-a-kind project in Ukraine

The Pinsel.Ar team both researched the heritage of Baroque sculptor Johann Pinsel, who was active on Ukrainian territory in the mid-18th century. The project attempts to present Pinsel's artistic achievements in a format not widely employed in Ukraine: augmented reality. Pinsel.Ar looks to increase public awareness in historical objects, architecture, sculpture, and artwork and to display in this singular media format little-known biographical detail of the life and work of Johann Pinsel, wellspring of the Lviv Sculptural School.The project applies innovative methods of photogrammetry, 3D scanning, and virtual and augmented reality to appeal to the broadest possible audience in order to promote, study, take part in and come to an understanding of our national cultural heritage sites. Currently, Pinsel.Ar is a one-of-a-kind project in Ukraine. Worldwide, this type of archival digitization has long been popular and arts and cultural projects have actively employed AR for years.

Scaned and reproduced in a 3D models Pinsel's sculptures are now made available to the public at our project site. A detailed description of each object was added to the images on the portal including further information on the artist and a chronology of his creative path. The original Ukrainian language texts have been translated into English, German, Polish and Czech, greatly enhancing its international appeal. It should be said that the choice of these languages in particular is not random; it is in these countries where extensive research on Pinsel has been undertaken. This focus is reflected in the collected project bibliography which includes texts by Polish, Czech and German researchers.
In this manner, the site provides a singularly thematic resource for a broad audience and serves to represent internationally our national cultural heritage of baroque art.

Grigory Semenchuk, project leader.

To create this virtual gallery, we scanned each sculpture from 25 points at different heights and distances for a total of nearly 12,500 individual photographic images. Generally, it took around eight hours to scan a single sculpture. We then processed the scanned material and photographic data, creating 3D simulations of the sculptures in 3D and then adapting them for use in virtual space.
3D models will be available in the mobile applications. The app makes it possible to create a virtual exposition in which a museum visitor points their phone to a designated marker in a venue and is able to view the sculptures.

Pinsel.AR entered into a partnership with the Wise Cow online educational platform, who puts together downloadable, free online courses in literature, history, art, cinema, urban studies, fashion and more. Together, they prepared the material for Johann Georg Pinsel: the inevitable drama of being for the site. Of particular note is its synthetically linked text and video commentary. As one example of how this works, artist/restorer Oleg Rybchynsky offers his insights – his discovery of what is seemingly Pinsel's workshop in the town of Buchach and his reattribution of one sculpture to Pinsel. Further episodes in the life of the Galicia-based artist are also offered by art historians Ostap Lozynsky and Roman Zilinko; Lesia Banakh, director of the Lviv Pinsel Museum of Sacred Baroque Sculpture; and Taras Vozniak, director of the Lviv Voznitskiy National Art Gallery as well as much more project background material.

Pinsel.Ar was conceived primarily to apply new technologies to preserve and revive the creative heritage of the Baroque master Johann Pinsel. The project bridged the scientific, artistic, museum and research spheres involved in re-examining Ukraine's cultural heritage both locally and in its European and global contexts.

This project stimulates the introduction of digital technologies into the cultural sphere, especially in the museum and preservation industries. An effort that hopefully will prevent scores of artistic objects from permanent loss. Augmented reality applications and 3D models can also be very used effectively in the creation of exhibitions beyond Ukraine. Another potentially important direction revealed in this project is its inclusive component. Contemporary 3D scan and production technologies allow people with visual impairment to see these sculptures, in brief, to experience their cultural heritage! This innovative presentation of Pinsel has drawn real interest among the younger public to whom modern modes of presentation matter are quite important.

Oleksandra Kushchenko, PR Manager

In order to be able to reach a broader audience we created a Facebook page, which we use like a blog, talking about particularities of the project, explaining some technical nuances, offering "behind the scenes" information when we published our results. We included photos from the scanning process, shots of the photography professionals that we brought along to WiseCow during the creation of this educational material. We also shared links to other scanning and 3D-modeling, 3D-printing projects and some other related material.

Understanding that there's a pretty narrow field of specialists working the field of 3D modelling who are interested in both the visual and technical aspects of the work, we decided to interact with them on our Instagram feed.

In 2019 we'll be supplementing the site with archival material, and soon we'll be updating the gallery and content, including texts, descriptions of sculptures and help pages). We also plan to expand the project by scanning the sculptures held in museums in Ivano-Frankivsk and the surrounding region, as well as those in Buchach in the Ternopil region. With sculptures located are in different cities we're developing tourist routes to help take you from one to the next.

Now the team is working on an audio guide in Ukrainian and English which we'll unveil in September. Translations of relevant texts are also planned for Czech, Polish and German, all of which along with the guide will be integrated into the app and website.

In September, the Centre for Urban History and Ukrainian Catholic University will hold public presentations reviewing everything we've done – the site, the app, the audio-guide, the 3D models, our research and educational materials. The idea is to spur the conversation among the public on the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

Pinsel.AR recommends to follow


One of the earliest created resources offering scans of cultural heritage objects from around the world.


A project born of a very simple idea: scan ancient Greek marble sculptures and virtually restore them to their original polychromatic state.


An example of what a museum-game looks like. In the game, users research objects recovered from canals, describing them in keeping with museum standards


An extraordinarily deep study of one painting.

Capturing Reality

Software manufacturers who share information about interesting projects in this area.

Museums and the Web

A page with everything you ever wanted to know about open data, digitisation and the scanning of artwork in museums.

Photo&video credits: PInsel.AR