Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Copy of a door - Scenes from the New Testament

Scenes from the New Testament

  • Object:

    Copy of a door

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (sculpted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1904 (made)
    1135-40 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bonizzato, Giacomo (caster)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted plaster cast

  • Museum number:

    REPRO.1904-54

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Some plaster casts are selective copies that only record elements of art and architecture rather than the whole piece. This cast depicts the lower left portion of the bronze panelling from the doors of San Zeno Basilica in Verona, Italy. The panels, showing scenes from the New Testament, were already damaged when the plaster cast was made. Further losses to the originals mean this cast has become a snapshot of the doors as they were in 1904.

Physical description

Plaster cast of a door depicting the lower left portion of the bronze panelling from the doors of San Zeno Basilica in Verona, Italy, with scenes from the New Testament.

Place of Origin

Italy (sculpted)

Date

ca. 1904 (made)
1135-40 (made)

Artist/maker

Bonizzato, Giacomo (caster)

Materials and Techniques

Painted plaster cast

Dimensions

Height: 328 cm, Width: 178 cm

Object history note

Cast of a door created by Giacomo Bonizzato in about 1904 and purchased from Giacomo Bonizzato at the Italian Exhibition, Earl’s Court, London in 1904 for £63 15s 11s (1600 lire). The cast is of the lower left portion of the bronze panelling from the doors of San Zeno Basilica in Verona, Italy, with scenes from the New Testament. The original door was made in 1135-40. Further losses to the originals mean this cast has become a snapshot of the doors as they were in 1904.

Historical context note

Making plaster copies is a centuries-old tradition that reached the height of its popularity during the 19th century. The V&A's casts are of large-scale architectural and sculptural works as well as small scale, jewelled book covers and ivory plaques, these last known as fictile ivories.

The Museum commissioned casts directly from makers and acquired others in exchange. Oronzio Lelli, of Florence was a key overseas supplier while, in London, Giovanni Franchi and Domenico Brucciani upheld a strong Italian tradition as highly-skilled mould-makers, or formatori.

Some casts are highly accurate depictions of original works, whilst others are more selective, replicating the outer surface of the original work, rather than its whole structure. Like a photograph, they record the moment the cast was taken: alterations, repairs and the wear and tear of age are all reproduced in the copies. The plasters can also be re-worked, so that their appearance differs slightly from the original from which they were taken.

To make a plaster cast, a negative mould has to be taken of the original object. The initial mould could be made from one of several ways. A flexible mould could be made by mixing wax with gutta-percha, a rubbery latex product taken from tropical trees. These two substances formed a mould that had a slightly elastic quality, so that it could easily be removed from the original object. Moulds were also made from gelatine, plaster or clay, and could then be used to create a plaster mould to use for casting.
When mixed with water, plaster can be poured into a prepared mould, allowed to set, and can be removed to produce a finished solid form. The moulds are coated with a separating or paring agent to prevent the newly poured plaster sticking to them. The smooth liquid state and slight expansion while setting allowed the quick drying plaster to infill even the most intricate contours of a mould.
Flatter, smaller objects in low relief usually require only one mould to cast the object. For more complex objects, with a raised surface, the mould would have to be made from a number of sections, known as piece-moulds. These pieces are held together in the so-called mother-mould, in order to create a mould of the whole object. Once the object has been cast from this mother-mould, the piece-moulds can be easily removed one by one, to create a cast of the three-dimensional object.

Descriptive line

Plaster cast of a door made by Giacomo Bonizzato, depicting the lower left portion of the bronze panelling from the doors of San Zeno Basilica in Italy, and showing scenes from the New Testament. The original was made by an unknown artist in San Zeno Basilica, Verona.

Labels and date

Cast of
Unknown artist
Doors from San Zeno Basilica
1135–40

Some plaster casts are selective copies that only record elements of art and architecture rather than the whole piece. This cast depicts the lower left portion of the bronze panelling from the doors of San Zeno Basilica in Verona, Italy. The panels, showing scenes from the New Testament, were already damaged when the plaster cast was made. Further losses to the originals mean this cast has become a snapshot of the doors as they were in 1904.

Cast
Giacomo Bonizzato
About 1904
Painted plaster cast
Purchased from Giacomo Bonizzato at the Italian Exhibition, Earl’s Court, London
Museum no. Repro.1904-54

Original
Bronze
San Zeno Basilica, Verona [04/07/2018]

Materials

Plaster; Paint

Techniques

Casting; Painting

Subjects depicted

Doors

Categories

Ph_survey; Sculpture; Architecture; Christianity; Plaster Cast; Copies; Cast Courts

Production Type

Copy

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.