Casts of ancient statues, Institutional hall section

A heritage of plaster casts housed in the historic spaces of the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna

Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Entrance corridorAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Introduction

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.

Aula MagnaAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Aula Magna

A prestigious venue for meetings and institutional events, the Aula Magna was originally the Church dedicated to Saint Ignatius, part of the larger complex of the Jesuit Novitiate, now the Academy's headquarter. Built in the eighteenth century by Alfonso Torreggiani and adapted in the nineteenth century by Angelo Venturoli, it reveals today its original function in the dome and in the imposing columns connected by the typical raised choir.

The room is also place of conservation of the Academy's sculptural heritage: the architectural structure is in fact defined by plaster casts of classical sculptures that represent one of the main corpus of the plastic fund.

Galata Morente (Copy of)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Among the plaster casts placed along the walls of the Aula Magna we recognize different figures of classical statuary.

Laocoonte (Copy of) (Mid-18th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Entering the hall we immediately meet Laocoonte.
The work is a plaster cast of the original in marble dating back to the 1st century AD.

The original was made by Hagesandros, Athenadoros and Polydoros, sculptors of Rhodes, preserved in the Vatican Museums. Compared to the reassembled original, the cast is missing the child figures.

Santa Susanna (Copy of) (1757) by Francois DuquesnoyAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Fauno Barberini (Copia di) (Early 19th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Apollo del Belvedere (Copia di)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

The Apollo del Belvedere, depicts the greek God, father of all the arts, and represents one of the models most used for studies on the human body.

This cast was made from a marble copy of the Hadrianic period of the bronze original probably by Leochares.
A curious note about the mode of transport of these casts: the Apollo mantle will reach Bologna in the Academy only one year after the arrival of the main block, as evidenced by a letter dated 20 April 1715.

The slavery (Copy of) (1888) by Diego SartiAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Sileno con Bacco bambino (Copy of) (Beginning of the eighteenth century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

David (Copy of) (1900) by MichelangeloAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Arria e Peto (Copia di) (Mid-18th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Dying Slave (Copy of) (1850) by MichelangeloAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

The Dying Slave is a plaster copy of the original marble made by Michelangelo in 1513, preserved at the Louvre in Paris. The work looks back to the ancient statuary, in particular Hellenistic.

The figure is abandoned in a languid pose, with the laces crossing his chest, barely removed from one hand, while the left arm is bent upwards to support the falling head.

Rebel Slave (Copy of) by MichelangeloAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Another copy made from a Michelangelo sculpture is the Rebellious Slave, portrayed as he tries to free himself from the ties that imprison his hands, twisting and turning his torso and head.

Both sculptures date back to the second project for the tomb of Julius II, the one agreed with the Della Rovere heirs in May 1513.

Coretti Aula MagnaAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Another important section of the collection of sculptures has recently been set up in the spaces of the choir, which became an exhibition venue.
The route reorganizes and show to the city the precious collection of statues, busts, plaster casts, bas-reliefs with works ranging from Bernini to Canova, from 18th-century Bolognese neoclassical sculpture to 20th-century masters like Drei, Minguzzi, Ghermandi.

Coretti Aula MagnaAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Coretti Aula MagnaAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Sala Clementina

The Aula Clementina, now used as Professor's Hall and as institutional place, holds much of the picture gallery set up on the walls and several sculptures including a group of plaster casts. When the Academy was moved to its current location, this Hall was redecorated in the neoclassical style typical of the early 1800s. Within the sculptural patrimony preserved here, the presence of some sculptures recalling a Mesopotamian and Egyptising style attracts the curiosity.

Aula ClementinaAccademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

These are copies of sculptural specimens dating back to the end of the 6th century BC, found at the temple of Golgoi in Cyprus by Luigi Palma di Cesnola, between 1866 and 1876, today part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The same American museum donated these casts to the Academy of Bologna which arrived at its headquarters on 22 February 1904.

Statua di un sacerdote con una colomba (Copia di) (End of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Statua di Ercole (Copia di) (End of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

Statua Maschile (Copia di) (End of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century)Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna

The presence of these works testifies a change in the taste of the artistic elite, no longer interested only in classical and Hellenistic antiquity but open to the suggestions of primitive art.

Credits: Story

Curated by

Silvia Bidoli
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

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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