Casting model for an urn, Sandbeck Park - Special Thanks To: Moor, Baker & Associates Architects PA
Crouching Aphrodite - Special Thanks To: Louise K. Kaufman
Bust of Juno
Jacob and Esau from the Gates of Paradise
Head of Hesiod
Entablature from the Basilica of Santa Croce - Special Thanks To: Clem Labine
Scroll to browse highlights on view in the ICAA Cast Hall, including pieces deaccessioned from The Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the Dick Reid Teaching Collection.
In 2004, the Metropolitan Museum of Art deaccessioned a historic collection of 120 plaster casts. The Metropolitan Museum of Art identified the ICAA as an appropriate steward of this significant collection due to the organization’s ongoing efforts to perpetuate the classical tradition in architecture and the related arts. The collection of plaster casts represents rare, high artistry in the craft of mold making and casting, and is an invaluable part of an education in traditional architecture and the allied arts. The ICAA uses the cast collection as a visual teaching aid, enabling students to view and draw from the finest examples of classical elements from masterpieces abroad.
Dick Reid was one of the world’s leading architectural artisans and restored numerous Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment-era buildings in and outside of London, including the Somerset House, Windsor Castle, and the Spencer House. In 2005, Mr. Reid retired and donated the items in his shop, some of which are also visible on this page, to be used as a visual teaching aid for the ICAA.
The Plaster Cast Hall is possible thanks to the generous support of Flower Construction, Foster Reeve & Associates, and Seth Weine.
The ICAA would like to thank the following Cast Hall donors for their transformational support:
Peter Pennoyer Architects
Highlights of the plaster cast collection are on view in the ICAA’s Cast Hall by appointment. School groups are encouraged to visit and take advantage of our free programming that is tailored to each individual visiting group.
For educators interested in visiting the Cast Hall, click here to learn more about our Cast Hall programming and here to read descriptions of previous programs.
Please email [email protected] or call 212-730-9646 × 115 to arrange a visit and discuss our curriculum options.
Admission to view the collection is free. Please consider making a donation to support the collection and the ICAA's educational initiatives.
The original from which this cast was made is a bronze equestrian monument to Erasmo da Narni, known as Gattamelata, which stands in the Piazza del Santo (Padua, Italy). The bronze is by Donatello, dated 1445-1453. The Gattamelata was the earliest Renaissance monument to reintroduce the equestrian statue type from antiquity.
In the early 20th century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a complete reproduction of this monument alongside another famous equestrian, Andrea Verrocchio’s Colleoni. In addition to the missing the body of the horse as well as its rider, the Gattamelata plaster cast also no longer has the horse’s reigns, though that the mouth once held a bit is apparent.
The cast was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for their collection in 1892 from the Roman castmaker Michele Gherardi, with the assistance of the art dealer Caroline Vedder.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
40 x 20 x 50 in. (HWD)
20 West 44th Street, New York, NY
This cast is of a base with lion’s feet from from the Monument of Cardinal Jacopo of Portugal in the Chapel of San Giocomo in the Church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence.
22 x 29 x 11 in. (HWD)
The cast of the pilaster capital comes from the Church of Westerkerk in Ekhuisen, Holland designed by Jan Terwn Aertsz. This very simple detail is painted to resemble wood.
24 x 16 x 9 in. (HWD)
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore was built over hundreds of years under the vision of multiple architects. The design began in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio, and then later continued under Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, and the artists who completed masterpieces for the Basilica’s interior. By the 15th Century, the structure was still without its dome. The design for the dome (first drawn by Cambio) returned to a classical model, like the Roman Pantheon. The original facade of the cathedral as designed by Cambio, also attributed to Giotto, was only completed in its lower half. Later, in 1587, the facade was dismantled by the Medici court and left bare till around 1864 with a competition won by Emilio de Fabris. The facade took on a Neo-Gothic style – white, red, and green marble creating an elegant picture. Three tall bronze doors provide entrances at the main portal beneath lunettes and a row of niches with all twelve apostles.
The cast is a detail from the second doorway on the north called the Porta della Mondorla in the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, also known as the Duomo. The Porta della Mondorla was designed by Niccolo d’ Arezzo c. 1408. The cast shows a small relief depicting women, children, and wildlife in a floral surrounding.
23 1/4 x 31 1/8 x 3 in. (HWD)
These plaster casts reproduce the panels depicting the story of Jacob and Esau, one of ten Old Testament scenes depicted on the baptistery doors. The frames around these panels, which are visible in the cast, contain Old Testament figures and vegetal ornament. The original doors from which these plaster casts were made are gilt bronze, executed between 1425-1452, by Lorenzo Ghiberti and a team of other Florentine artists. The design for the doors has long been recognized as an important illustration of Renaissance artistic interests, such as the use of linear perspective and contrapposto, as well as the interpretation of forms from ancient Roman architecture and art. Each panel contains within it multiple episodes of an extended Biblical narrative. Within the Jacob in Esau panel, for instance, are eight different scenes from the story. The architecture, composed in linear perspective, serves a central role within the pictorial space in delineating the distinct settings which allows the complex narrative to unfold clearly.
The ICAA’s plaster casts have been painted to recreate the appearance of gilt bronze, a technique where a thin layer of gold is applied to a bronze surface. The plaster cast’s gilt bronze surface was added during a restoration project in the early 2000s.
The ICAA owns 5 panels of the doors, which were once displayed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a complete recreation of the doors (see photo).
36 x 57 x 9 3/4 in. (HWD)
This cast is of a decorative relief panel inscribed with date (1572) from the Choir Screen in the Church Westerkerk. The panel shows various forms of flora and cherubs encircling the profile image of a woman within a wreath. It was made by Jan Terwen Aertsz (1511-1589), who carved the Choir Screen at Westerkerk. The cast was made by craftsman F. Stoltzenberg of Roermond, Holland in 1895 and was then purchased by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
33 x 44 x 6 in. (HWD)
The original pulpit from which these plaster casts were made is by Benedetto da Maiano, completed around 1475. The pulpit is in carved marble with gilding. The pulpit was comprised of five scenes depicting the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The ICAA owns three of the five panels as well as the niche with the figure of Charity. In the reliefs, Maiano crafts his scenes within an architectural environment composed in a refined linear perspective that creates great depth.
Though the process by which the plaster casts were made has certainly dulled the impact of Maiano’s masterful low relief carving, the cast maker Oronzio Lelli finely finished his plaster to emphasize the subtly of the original marble, as is especially apparent in the delicacy of the wings of the ornamental putto below the main relief. The stone-like color of the relief of St. Francis receiving the stigmata is the original surface, which has discolored with time.
38 x 41 x 11 in. (HWD)
This plaster cast was made from a marble bracket that was part of the Monument of Bishop Leonardo Salutati in the Cathedral of Fiesole, Italy. The original was designed by Mino da Fiesole (1429-1484) circa 1466. An entire reproduction of the monument was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in the early 20th century.
The plaster cast was made in 1892 by plaster craftsman Oronzio Lelli for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.
13 x 26 x 11 in. (HWD)
The original carved marble from which this plaster cast was made is attributed to Simone Mosca (1492-1553). The original was made between 1521-1534.
When this plaster cast was purchased for The Metropolitan Museum from the École des Beaux Arts Casting Atelier in 1891 it was catalogued with other works by Michelangelo, who famously designed the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo Church (Florence, Italy). Scholars today believe the candelabrum is by Simone Mosca, who worked with Michelangelo in the New Sacristy in the 1520s and 1530s. The design of the candelabrum is “all’antica”, a Renaissance style which adapted. ancient Roman motifs to Renaissance taste.
47 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in. (HWD)
This plaster cast was made from a pilaster capital ornamented with fleurs-de-lis and a putto wearing a medallion of St. George slaying the dragon, a reference to the Noble Brotherhood of St. George of Rougemont. The Galerie du Bord l'Eau, or the Grande Galerie Orientale, which the pilaster is part of, was built during the reign of Henri VI to connect the Louvre and the Tuilieres palaces. The building was designed by Jacques Androut du Cerceau (1550-1614) between 1607 -1610.
The cast was acquired for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection from the Parisian maker L. Mathivet.
30 x 35 x 12 1/2 in. (HWD)
This 1892 plaster cast was made from a bronze original, dated to the late 15th century. The original object was a multi-functional decorative item that was both a door knocker and a holder for a standard, or type of flag displaying the family's crest. The plaster version on display here is missing the circular knocker that once hung from the claw-like hand at the bottom.
The original object was once attached to the Palazzo del Magnifico, also known as the Palazzo Petrucci, in Siena, Italy. Pandolfo Petrucci, the building's patron, effectively ruled Siena from 1487 to 1512. The palace was designed by the architect Giacomo Cozzarelli (1453-1515) and built by Domenico di Bartolomeo in 1508.
The cast was purchased for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection from Jean Pouzadouz of the Trocadéro Casting Atelier in Paris.
21 x 12 x 28 3/4 in. (HWD)
20 West 44th Street
Plaster cast of the gilt bronze Noah panel of the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1425 – 1452). The bronze panel is currently on display at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) in Florence, Italy. According to the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Torah, God spares Noah and his family from an enormous flood intended to destroy the wicked. In the background of the scene, Noah and his family emerge from the safety of their ark—in this case one that resembles a pyramid, as described by the early Christian theologian Origen—and they embrace under the newly sunny sky. In the foreground, Noah’s son Ham orders his brothers to clothe a semi-nude Noah, inebriated from having indulged too heavily in celebratory wine.
The relief panel from the pulpit of St. Croce in Florence depicts St. Francis undergoing an Ordeal by Fire before the Sultan. The original in marble with gilding from which this cast was made is by Benedetto da Maiano. The original relief is one of five in marble which comprised a pulpit in the Santa Croce Church (Florence) illustrating the Life of St. Francis. It was completed c. 1475.
The ICAA owns casts of three of the five panels, including the present cast and South Wall no. 18 in this gallery. According to the 1908 catalogue of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s cast collection, the pulpit was displayed with all five panels attached, reconstructing the form of the original pulpit. The panel was made by plaster craftsman Oronzio Lelli for The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
38 x 34 x 7 in.
This panel is one of the ten relief panels created by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) for the doors of the Florence Baptistry. This panel depicts the Old Testament scene of the sacrifice of Isaac, with the figures of Isaac and Abraham repeating throughout the scene.
This plaster cast was made from a tomb carved in polychrome marble located in Cathedral of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul in Nantes, France. Made by Michel Colombe (1425-1515) and Jean Perréal (1445-1540), the cast is of one end of the rectangular tomb, atop which rest marble figures of the deceased Francois and Marguerite in repose. This portion of the cast includes the figure of St. Louis of France in the upper arch and in the medallion below is a mourning monk. In the original marble tomb the arch in which St. Louis stands is carved in pink marble while the mourner is in black marble. This polychromy was not reproduced in the plaster cast, which has become discolored with age. Colombe’s work, and this tomb in particular, has been recognized by art historians as heralding the arrival of the Renaissance in the North. The plaster cast was made by the Palais du Trocadéro casting atelier in Paris, from whom it was purchased by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This piece is a detailed column cast from architectural details in the Church of the Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy made in 1552 by Benedetto da Rovezzano (1474-1552). The church itself was build during the 13th century, butt its Baroque facade was added during the 16th century. It is known for the Sassetti chapel designed by Domenico Ghirlandaio in 1486. The cast column is embellished with floral designs and both human and animal faces which flanked the altarpiece of the church. The cast was made by craftsman Oronzio Lelli for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection.
66 x 8 x 13 in.
This plaster cast from the Basilica of Santa Croce is of the architectural elements that frame the central scene of the Cavalcanti Annunciation, made by Donatello around 1435 after a trip to Rome. The original is carved in pietra serena, a gray sandstone commonly used in the architectural details in Florence, Italy, and is highlighted with gilding. In the central panel, which is not represented in this cast, the Virgin was placed into a classical setting. This style continues in the framing elements, which the cast clearly demonstrates. The patination of this cast tries to imitate the visual qualities of pietra serena. The cast was purchased for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection from Italian craftsman Giuseppe Lelli.