Institute of Classical Architecture & Art



the Historic Plaster Cast collection

Triumphal Arch of Aosta, Head of Zeus, Capital Column A significant portion of this seminal 19th-century collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is now a vital permanent resource of the Institute. The approximately 100 casts that today constitute the publicly-displayed holding are used as a tool of pedagogy and direct inspiration for students of architecture, Cast Drawing painting, sculpture, drawing and their allied building arts. This Beaux-Arts educational model is thus enlivened for the 21st-century. They serve concurrently as a compelling and accessible record of the classical tradition throughout its record from its Greco-Roman origins to the present day.

This collection — entitled The Historic Plaster Casts Center — is conceived as an ongoing endeavor. Additional casts will be procured from other de-accessioning museum collections as well as from private donors as opportunity allows. New casts from the marketplace deemed central to the ICAA curriculum are purchased accordingly. Examples in the latter category are presently found in the Institute’s Grand Central Academy of Art, launched in 2006 as one part of the Institute’s instruction in the allied fine arts.

The Institute is thrilled at the opportunity first kindled by the generosity of the Metropolitan Museum to rescue and resurrect the original educational promise of these historic casts.

Drawing from 21st century casts is an integral part of the overall classical curriculum.

This work to date has been made possible to the generosity of:

  • The Bodman Foundation
  • Richard H. Driehaus
  • Elizabeth and Patrick Gerschel
  • The William and Mary Greve Foundation
  • The Hettinger Foundation
  • The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
  • The Robert Lehman Foundation
  • The Paul B. and Klara Porzelt Foundation
  • The Thaw Charitable Trust

Those ICAA members who have contributed both funds and expertise in the ongoing conservation, installation and catalog interpretation of individual casts as part of an Adopt-a-Cast initiative. The catalogue gratefully lists them in each instance.

Special thanks go to Richard Cameron, Ashton Hawkins, Anthony McConnell, Elizabeth Milleker, Peter Pennoyer, Leonard Porter, Treese Robb, Greg Shue, Ann Sulzberger and Anne Walker and Amy Weinstein for their volunteer labors in making the Historic Plaster Casts Center a reality and extending its access both at the ICAA headquarters and online.

Tours of the Center are possible. Contact the Institute at (212) 730-9646, ext. 109 to make a reservation. The Web catalogue is made possible by the generosity of The Bodman Foundation and The Thaw Charitable Trust.