Reviving the V&A’s Cast Courts

The V&A’s superlative Cast Courts are undergoing a timely programme of renovation, the first time in three decades. In these posts, the project team take you behind the scenes, keeping you updated on their progress and the discoveries and challenges in breathing new life into one of the V&A’s best-loved set of galleries.

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Guest Post: The restoration of Michelangelo’s David and the interventions by Clemente Papi

Fig 2. Hypothetical virtual reconstruction of the gilding on the David in 1504 (digital elaboration by Artmedia Studio, Florence). Image courtesy of the Artmedia Studio, Florence.

Franca Falletti is the Former Director of Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence The Granduke of Tuscany commissioned from Clemente Papi a plaster mould and a copy of the sculpture of the David by Michelangelo, on 29 August 1846.[1] Soon afterwards, Papi also made a wax mould in preparation for a bronze copy of the statue, because he […]

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Guest Post: ‘Castaway!’ – David washed ashore in the antipodes

David’s eye. NAS Drawing Department cast.

Lorraine Kypiotis is a lecturer in Art History and Theory at National Art School in Sydney To view the remnants of the facial features of Michelangelo’s David at the National Art School in Sydney is somewhat like considering the curious pieces of flotsam and jetsam washed ashore after a tropical storm. They are, in so many […]

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Time capsules, finding the unexpected in buildings and objects – Part 3

Package of Hudson's extract of soap found inside one of the monumental casts in gallery 46 A. Image, J. Puisto © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The secrets in the Cast Courts One of the joys of working in the Cast Courts at the V&A, is the opportunity to examine the casts up-close. Surprisingly many of them conceal peculiar items which have been hidden inside them for a very long time. The items we find consist of, fragments of cleaning materials, […]

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Guest Post: Part 2 – David’s journey from Florence to V&A

Plaster cast of Michelangelo's David (Mus. No. REPRO. 161-1857) at the V&A. Image, Giuseppe Rizzo.

Giuseppe Rizzo is an art historian with a specialism on the life and works of Clemente Papi. Giuseppe works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Although there are many copies of Michelangelo’s David in museums around the world, the full-size-replica exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum should be considered as ‘unique’. The cast was […]

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Guest Post: Part 1 – Clemente Papi: From plaster maker to Royal Bronze Founder

The Chapel, Petits St. Augustins, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris (Photo: @ EDBA n. 40445).

Giuseppe Rizzo is an art historian with a specialism on the life and works of Clemente Papi. Giuseppe works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The history of the first copies of Michelangelo’s David are linked to the cast maker Clemente Papi (1803-1875), who, over the course of his career, made three life-size reproductions of […]

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Conservation of a Romanesque Lintel Cast

Repro.1902-17 in a former installation at the V&A, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

During my last year of the MSc in objects conservation at University College London, I am fortunate to have been granted a placement in the sculpture conservation studio at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to fulfil the practical portion of my training. Last September, I became involved in the conservation of the V&A plaster […]

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Cast Courts Update

The scaffolding in Gallery 46A has now been taken down, and so now once again it’s possible to view the whole gallery and some of the museum’s largest objects. This gallery will remain closed until November 2018, but can still be viewed from the balcony level in Gallery 111. Overall the scaffolding took three months […]

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3D Imaging in Cultural Heritage

On the 9th and 10th November, the British Museum hosted a conference about 3D Imaging in Cultural Heritage. The conference was supported by IPERION-CH (Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure on Cultural Heritage), and explored the wide range of methods and applications of 3D imaging, as well as how 3D data can be used […]

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Guest Post: Part 2 – The Florentine copies of Michelangelo’s David by Clemente Papi – The plaster cast of the Head of David at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence

Figure 4. Clemente Papi, Plaster cast of the head of David by Michelangelo, 1848. Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence. Photo credit: Gabinetto Fotografico degli Uffizi, 2012.

Giuliana Videtta is an art historian and the former Director of the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence. In my previous blog I summarised the events relating to the history of the Florentine casts of Michelangelo’s David by Clemente Papi, and demonstrated the important cultural role that the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence has had […]

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Guest Post: Part 1 – The Florentine Copies of Michelangelo’s David by Clemente Papi – The Plaster Cast at Istituto Statale d’Arte

Michelangelo’s David in the Tribuna of the Academy of Fine Arts, post 1903 – ante 1909. Note the plaster cast of the Head displayed on the right-hand side (Alinari Archives, published in L’Accademia, Michelangelo, l’Ottocento, cit., p.46, detail).

Giuliana Videtta is an art historian and the former Director of the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence. Florence hosts the famous marble of David by Michelangelo (Figure 1) and there are numerous copies of this sculpture to be found across the city. In this blog I will try to illustrate briefly the main historical stages […]

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