The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Peter Leopold, converted the friary hospital of San Matthew in 1784 into a gallery for the adjacent Accademia delle Belle Arti, or Fine Arts Academy, so that students could study the greatest works of the past.

Thus, visitors to the “Gipsoteca Bartolini” can see some of the most delicate sculptural casts by Lorenzo Bartolini, a brilliant sculpture professor at the Academy in the 19th century.

Artworks displayed alongside the Gipsoteca ( the Hall of Models ) are ideal replicas of Bartolini’s art studio, showing various types of commemorative, private, or monumental plaster casts for sepulchres. There are currently two types of 19th-century works on display in the Hall.

The Academy of Fine Arts of Florence awarded the collection of plaster models by Bartolini and Pampaloni and the collection of paintings and sculptures. As a whole, these works show the evolution of Florentine artistic culture between Neoclassicism and Romanticism.

During the 19th century, wealthy foreign aristocrats settled in Florence and had grand models made ( such as those depicting Machiavelli by Lorenzo Bartolini, Arnolfo di Cambio, and Brunelleschi by Pampaloni ).

An aesthetic taste typical of the 19th century can be seen from head to toe in most statues and busts, which depict the typical hairstyle and fashion of that era.

Clay was used to creating these elegant models: nails were inserted into the model at regular intervals when rough-hewing the marble block to have precise depth references.

Find out more about GIPSOTECA BARTOLINI ( Hall of Models ) on a guided tour


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