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Plaster Casts Collection

The Collections of Plaster Casts spread in Europe in the 18th century for the Academies and Art Institutes commenced to use them as a privileged means of education for the students’ artistic taste and as a model for their drawing and plastic exercises.

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At the same time, because of the Classical revival, kings, aristocrats and artists developed a peculiar taste for collecting casts.

The University of Pisa Collection of Plaster Casts

During the 19th century, Universities too opened their Collections of Plaster Casts, as they would perfectly support the teaching of archaeology techniques. The Gallery of Plaster casts of the University of Pisa is one of the firsts to be set in Italy, on the model of the Germanic archaeology. The collection, whose original location was the old Literature and Philosophy Faculty (the “Sapienza” building), was initiated by Gherardo Ghirardini in 1887 and then built on and enriched by Lucio Mariani and Silvio Ferri.
Nowadays, the collection offers a synthesis of the most famous and significant classical pieces, from Greek ones to Etruscan and Roman ones, together with less-known and unprecedented pieces and small plastic artifacts: accurate reproductions of classical pieces, housed in various national and foreign museums or in some case lost and, also, particular versions of historical restorations (i.e. the sculpture of “Marsia of Laterano who dances on the castanets sound”) or special projects of reconstruction who took place in Pisa in order to give a newer interpretation (i.e. the relief from the Archaic Etruscan Tomb from the Vetulonia’s “Petrera” and the Ferri’s Laocoon).