September 17, 2014

The Art Gallery at Rivier University hosts Caproni Castings Exhibition

Photo: "Macedonian Soldier on Horseback" from the frieze entitled Triumphal Entry of Alexander into Babylon, XVI; Origin: Quirinal Palace, Rome; Artist: Bertel Thorvaldsen (Norwegian, c. 1812)


From September 22 through November 19, the Art Gallery at Rivier University will present “The Sculpted Figure: Featuring Historic Caproni Castings.” This exhibition, featuring replicas created by Pietro Caproni in the late 19th century, demonstrates fluctuating relationships between idealism and realism within the Western Classical tradition of figurative sculpture.

Florentine master craftsman Pietro Caproni practiced the art of creating precise castings by travelling throughout Europe making molds directly from masterpieces in such museums as the Louvre, the National Museum in Athens, the Vatican, the Uffizi Gallery, and the British Museum.

In 1900, Caproni, who was one of the last of his craft to be allowed the freedom of casting directly from museum pieces, established a studio in Boston for making and housing plaster replicas. He made his replicas available to museums, schools, and private connoisseurs through an illustrated catalogue of more than 2,500 entries. Some of the original molds have survived to the present day and catalogues can still be found in major libraries. Today well-cast replicas, as shown in this exhibition, are valued as artistic achievements in their own right and are increasingly in demand by discriminating collectors.

Sr. Theresa Couture, Director of The Art Gallery at Rivier University, shares “Traditionally, casts have provided greater access to those who otherwise would not be able to study original, three-dimensional works. During the first half of the 19th century, the first plaster cast reproductions and casts of classically inspired sculpture were acquired by art societies and museums. They were displayed not so much as copies than as important works that constituted the western canon of art.”

The gallery is located on the second floor of Memorial Hall and is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free. Access is available by elevator and six low steps.

For updates about this exhibition and related events, visit 

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