The Collection of Plaster Casts of the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara.



The Academy of Fine Arts has a collection of about 300 plaster casts among which there are ancient bas-reliefs, models and round casts of the first and second part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. the arrival of the first pieces of art is dated 1769, the year of the founding of the Institute thanks to the will of Maria Teresa Cybo. These plaster casts form the educational collection necessary to learn the art of sculpture. The real increase of the collection happened when Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi was the head of the Academy from 1806 to 1814. She established the so-called "Artistic Board" and provided casts and models of prestigious neoclassical sculptors by their passage or stay in town. The increase of the number of pieces continued throughout the first and second half of the nineteenth century until the early thirties of the twentieth century thanks to the donations of artists and prestigious Carrara families.  
 
The models and casts of the first neoclassical masters such as Antonio Canova, Lorenzo Bartolini and Bertel Thorwaldsen - approximately 30 pieces - are the most valuable heart of the collection of the Academy together with a series of portrait-bust performed by Cartellier and Bosio and by the Prussian author Rauch, honoured guest of Maria Beatrice of Hasburg and Este. The masters series is placed side by side with the equally precious so-called "scholars" series. It is possible to admire Carlo Finelli’s Three Graces group, Benedetto Cacciatori’s Mercurio, Pietro Tenerani’s Psyche in a Faint, Psiche e Paride Offerente. Thanks to other pieces made by Demetrio Carusi,  Bernardo and Giovanni Tacca, Leopoldo Bozzoni, Carlo Chelli, Luigi Bienaimè, Ferdinando Pelliccia, Giuseppe and Pietro Lazzerini, Carlo Nicoli,  Fidardo Landi,  Abramo Ghigli,  Carlo Fontana, and Arturo Dazzi, the scholars series, whose artists became masters in turn, is the true peculiar collection of plaster casts of Carrara. It is a unique exhibition that allows to understand the various currents that affected sculpture of the first and second nineteenth century resulting then in Naturalism and early twentieth century Verism.  
 
 
 
Bibliography
  • S. Russo (edited by), La Gipsoteca dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, with texts of S. Russo e R. Carozzi, Massa 1996.
  • A. V. Laghi, Carrara, la sua Accademia e il futuro museo dei gessi, in Le gipsoteche in Toscana per una prospettiva di censimento nazionale, Acts of the Congress chaired by C. Sisi e S. Condemi,  Pescia, March, the 21st 2001.
  • A. V. Laghi – G. De Juliis (edited by) Le gipsoteche delle Accademie Storiche  tra Museo, Tutela Didattica e Restauro, Study Seminar, Carrara (Academy of Fine Arts) 2004.
  • A. V. Laghi, La sfortuna e il possibile recupero della gipsoteca dell’Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, in L’accademia oltre l’Accademia, in G. Pozzi e G. Bindi (edited by) Formazione, conservazione e comunicazione dell’arte, Study Seminar, Florence (Academy of Fine Arts), 14-16 marzo 2007, Florence 2009.
  • A. V. Laghi- A. Macripò (edited by)  D’Après Canova.L’800 a Carrara. L’Accademia e i suoi maestri, exhibition catalogue, Carrara (Palazzo Binelli, June, 25th – September, 30th 2011), Carrara 2011.
  • A. V. Laghi- A. Macripò (edited by)  Il Tempo di Elisa. Il mito e la bellezza, Carrara (Academy of Fines Arts, May, 10th – September, 10th 2012), Carrara 2012.
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