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La Gipsoteca del Dipartimento Culture e Società e il valore didattico delle raccolte di calchi in gesso di scultura antica


The recent opening of the Plaster Cast Collection of the Department Cultures and Societies at the University of Palermo, after a long recovery and restoration work, is the starting point for some considerations about today’s possibilities of use of the academic plaster cast galleries of ancient sculpture. These collections, since their origin devoted to serve as a help for teaching the history of ancient art, and above all the Greek sculpture, are still worthy of interest. First of all they attest an important moment of the scientific history of the subject. But they can be also useful for the present study of ancient art, on condition that we are always aware of the functional and decontextualized nature of the casts compared to the originals they are copies of. Plaster cast collections, however, have not to be confined to the circle of the scholars, because for the general public too they can be a vehicle for a better understanding of the stone sculpture preserved in the major museums.