Throughout the nineteenth century, hand-painted plaster replicas of historical objects were manufactured for use in museums that sought to bring together all the world's masterpieces under one roof. Among the oldest and largest manufacturers was the Replica Workshop in Berlin, whose supply of plaster casts now comprises more than seven thousand sculptures that continue to be produced for museums and private collections through the use of artistry and workmanship handed down over generations.
Plasterwork Masterpieces pays tribute to the art of plaster casting through a carefully curated catalog of the workshop's most admired sculptures from art and archaeology, including the Laocon Group and Rodin's famed The Thinker. Opening an important Berlin institution to the public, the works included here offer a fascinating journey through the various cultures from antiquity to the present.
Miguel Helfrich is director of the Replica Workshop at the National Museums of Berlin.
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