The Florentine Gipsoteca
The Florentine Gipsoteca at Porta Romana was one of the most famous and largest in Italy. The origin of this collection comes from plaster casts made during the Celebrations of Donatello in 1887 by the mould makers Angelo Giannini and Oronzio Lelli. Oronzio was the official mould maker of the Royal Galleries in Florence and had a workshop in Corso dei Tintori. There are lists of his collection already since 1875.
Oronzio worked on a lot of casts also large works as the Porta Est del Battistero, the Cantorie di Santa Maria del Fiore, and sculptures by Donatello, Michelangelo and others of fifteenth century. His work continued with his sons Giuseppe and Luigi. In 1919 Luigi sold the whole collection of two thousand pieces of molds and casts.
The Istituto d’Arte di Firenze managed to acquire the collection after a long negotiation and luigi was appointed as Maestro d’Arte and curator of the collection.
The collection of plaster casts was solemnly inaugurated in 24 june 1929.
Over the time the collection was increased with other casts and moulds. At the Gipsoteca was attached a molding and casting workshop which maintained links between the Istituto d’Arte and the world by responding to requests for sale of countless plaster casts.
The following old photos show the Gipsoteca as the location was around 1930 – 1950. Plaster casts were displayed and exhibited in order of author and period, with the exception of the large casts unmovable.
Unfortunately, today the Gipsoteca has many fewer plaster casts than in the past and moreover is not normally open to the public with a daily visiting hours. For visiting is necessary to make a specific request directly to the Istituto d’Arte di Porta Romana.
Address: Piazzale di Porta Romana, 9 Firenze