|Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
José Grave de Peralta
about the artist
black & white
A r t R e s t o r a t i o n
statue of Francis
I of France
After and before
Two years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, donated nineteen plaster
casts to the University of Miami School of Architecture. The museum has donated
casts from its collection to several other U.S. universities and to the Institute of
Classical Architecture/Classical America.
In January 2006, I was asked to bring the casts back to life, to make them "legible"
and fit for use in the school's drawing and design studios. Plaster casts of historical
sculptures and building fragments figured prominently in the study of art and
architecture well into the 20th century.
After decades in storage, these valuable replicas came to us with varying degrees of
distress and fragmentation. Restoration is a multifaceted activity, requiring as much
knowledge of cleaning agents and methods as that of structural principles. The
restorer needs the draughtsman’s eye for line and composition as well as a keen sense
of sequence and timing in the application of materials. This is appropriate. In the
19th century, the level of craftsmanship involved in the making of such copies
produced statues and friezes that rivaled the original artwork in their finish and
A partial view of
The Jorge M. Perez ArchitecturalCenter
of the University of Miami, where the
exhibit of the plaster cast collection took
place on October 24, 2006.