Entering from the main door of the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, an emblematic view is presented: a long corridor set up with panels fixed into the walls and imposing sculptures that welcome visitors in this place of long artistic tradition. The artworks that inhabit this space are plaster casts, copies taken from ancient and modern statuary whose function has always been to serve as a model for the students practicing the art of drawing. The collection of this heritage starts in 1714 thanks to General Marsili, an important figure for the founding of the Academy, who wanted to equip the fledgling school with the most updated teaching material. The plastics plaster fund grow over the centuries thanks to further donations, creating a gipsothèque that collects copies of works by the greatest sculptors, from ancient Greece to the Italian Renaissance.
Crossing the threshold we are greeted by the two sculptures on the sides of the entrance hall, Sophocles and a Germanicus.
Sofocle (Copy of) (First decades of the nineteenth century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
The sculpture on the left represents Sophocles. The work appears to be of good workmanship and is attributable to the first decades of the nineteenth century.
It is a plaster cast of a marble copy, perhaps from the Augustan period, from a bronze original by Leochares placed in the Theater of Dionysus in Athens (328-326 BC).
Germanico (Copy of) (Mid-18th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
This work, called Germanic, is a plaster cast from an original of the Augustan age, from a type of 450 BC probably depicting Augustus as a young Hermes.
The Bolognese example, from the mid-18th century, arrived in Bologna at the behest of Benedict XIV and was derived from the counter-mold of a copy by the French Academy.
Advancing in the corridor leads to the central part finding ourselves surrounded by a remarkable group of sculptures. The layout of this space dates back to 1860 and today presents some significant examples of sculptural production over the centuries, including the Discobolo by Mirone, the Pietà by Michelangelo and the majestic Oceano by Giambologna.
Arianna (Copia di) (Mid-18th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
One of the first sculptures encountered on the left represents the body of Cleopatra, also identified as Arianna.
This is the plaster cast of a roman copy in marble from the late Hadrianic period, made from an original from the 150 B.C. The posture appears strongly reclined with respect to the original.
Il Discobolo (Copia di) (Beginning of the nineteenth century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
The plaster cast of the famous Discobolo by Mirone, created by the artist around 460 BC, it is datable at the beginning of the XIX century.
It reproduces a Roman copy in marble preserved today in the Vatican Museums.
Pietà vaticana (Copia di)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
Among the most significant works within the sculpture heritage we find the plaster cast of the "Pietà Vaticana", a marble sculpture executed by Michelangelo Buonarroti at the end of the XV century.
Santa Bibiana (Copy of) (1857) by Gianlorenzo BerniniAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
Niobe con la figlia più piccola (Copia di) (Mid-18th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
Ocean (1800) by GiambolognaAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
At the center of the corridor appears Oceano, it is a plaster cast of the work by Giambologna, a Flemish sculptor active in Italy, also famous for the Neptune fountain in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.
The cast was donated to the Academy by the Tuscan sculpture teacher Salvino Salvini and the original is in the Boboli Gardens in Florence.
At the foot of Oceano, the gaze opens towards the side corridors and attention immediately goes to the Nike di Samotracia, who appears in the center of the Collamarini Wing. Along the walls are placed plaster and marble panels, made by Roman and Tuscan students attending the art school in Bologna, alternated with terracotta tiles, pretending to be bronze, representing the winning artworks of the Marsili-Aldrovandi award.
Nike di Samotracia (Copia di) (End of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
The emblematic silhouette of the Nike of Samothrace stands out at the end of the corridor. It is a plaster cast of the famous sculpture now preserved in the Louvre Museum.
The original dates back to 200 BC and comes from the island of Samothrace. This cast can be attributed to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Assistant for the Google Art & Culture project / Academy of Fine Art Bologna
Prof. Daniele Campagnoli
referent for the Google Art & Culture project / Academy of Fine Art Bologna
with the supervision of
Prof. Alfonso Panzetta
referent for the sculpture fund / Academy of Fine Art Bologna