Old Masters in Plaster

The anchor of the Carnegie’s collection is a massive cast (above center) of the western façade of the 12th century abbey church at St. Gilles, in Gard, France.

Flanking the entrance to the Hall of Architecture (above left) are Sophocles (at left) and Hermes with the infant Dionysus.

Receding façades: In the Carnegie's Hall of Architecture, a model of the Parthenon sits in front of a plaster cast of the Porch of the Caryatids from the Erechtheum, a temple on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

This cast was one of the largest ever produced. Untitled (above right), a 2002 work by British sculptor Rachel Whiteread in the Hall of Sculpture, is a negative, or inverted, cast of a stairway from an 18th century house in London.

Sculpture casts from the Hall of Architecture: the famous Augustus of Prima Porta (c. 15 B.C.), with the goddess Athena in the background.

The comic playwright Menander (c. third century B.C.) beside a copy of the Borghese Vase, c. 40 B.C.

The Naxian sphinx (c. 570 B.C.) from Delphi, Greece, the site of Apollo's ancient oracle.

The tragedian Sophocles-a cast of a Roman copy of a Greek original from c. 330 B.C.

A figure representing Virtue from the 16th century tomb of Francis II and Marguerite de Foix in Nantes, France, regards a cast of the baptismal font (1416-1430) from the cathedral in Siena, Italy. Between them stand casts of Hermes with Dionysus and, behind them, Sophocles.

Wearing paper hats, a class of elementary-school students sits in front of the cast of the St. Gilles abbey for an art lesson in 1924.

A regular Saturday art class started at the Carnegie in 1932; a Saturday class from c. 1940 admires a cast of a 13th century pulpit from Siena. To their right is a cast from the Cathedral of St. Andre in Bordeaux, France.

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