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Gipsoteca di Porta Romana – now this is an art school!

gipsoteca-davidI’m at Toscana Lab (#tlab10), a conference about the internet with an Italian/Tuscan touch. Apart from the content and the speakers, here’s something you won’t get anywhere else: the location. We’re inside an art school (Istituto Statale d’Arte di Porta Romana) known as the Gipsoteca, located in a vast park at Piazzale Romana. The building was the scuderie reale (royal horse stables), annexed to Palazzo Pitti. Folks, This is a high school!! It’s not regularly open to the public, other than by special permit. This is a special occasion, thus, to peek inside this important art school, and as you can imagine I've taken a lot of photos! The main hall contains reproductions of many important works of art located in Florence, Lucca, and Padova (from what I can tell); the Gipsoteca houses more than 3000 works. Right behind the stage, silhouetted against a large window, is a life-sized reproduction of Michelangelo’s David. There are other Michelangelo works – the night and day, dusk and dawn from the Medici chapels; and then works by Donatello - the Gattamelata from Padova (transfered here from the Bargello), the Annunciation in Santa Croce, the lion from outside Palazzo Vecchio. We also have a nice copy of Jacopo della Quercia’s funerary sculpture of Illaria Taddei from Lucca’s cathedral. Imagine if this were your high school! Studying art in Florence, one of the world’s art capitals, is already a big deal, but having these reproductions on hand in the same building is a totally unique experience. Creating these gesso copies of sculptures is something that was popular in the nineteenth century; there is a room in the Accademia dedicated to more of these that were made for their art school, the Accademia delle Belle Arti. At the time they were made through direct contact with the original sculptures, a technique no longer in use since it may cause damage. Here's some photos! [gallery link="file"]