Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
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Marcinkowski, Wojciech [Editor]; Zaucha, Tomasz [Editor]; Museum Narodowe w Krakowie [Editor]
Plaster casts of the works of art: history of collections, conservation, exhibition practice ; materials from the conference in the National Museum in Krakow, May 25, 2010 — Krakau, 2010

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https://doi.org/10.11588/diglit.21832#0104
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Anna Kłosowska*, Michał Obarzanowski**

Plaster casts in the collection of the National Museum

in Krakow. Conservation issues

The National Museum in Krakow, Department i - "Polish Painting and Sculpture
Before 1764" - houses a collection of several hundred plaster casts, outstanding
examples of 12th- 16th century sculptures, royal tombstones, architectural details
important to Polish cultural heritage, executed at the break of the 19th and 20th centu-
ries. They come from the Wawel Royal Castle, churches and historic houses in Krakow,
and from other Polish cities. Some are the only existing records of lost originals.

These objects act as documentation of valuable pieces of Polish art. Despite this and
their fragility, not much has ever been done for their protection. From the 1960s
onwards they were kept in the Museum's storerooms, forgotten and inaccessible
to the public.

The Sculpture Conservation Workshop in the National Museum in Krakow has
prepared a collection of plaster casts for a new study storeroom designed and com-
pleted as part of the "Krakow Within Your Reach" project.

The first conservation works took place in 2005, but were boosted in autumn 2008
when the project was established and finalized in 2010. This allowed us to take up
a complex approach to dealing with the conservation problems of the whole collec-
tion, consisting of over 700 pieces. Each and every object had to undergo conserva-
tion treatment of varying extent.

Usually plaster casts are seen as simple objects made of gypsum. This is a very general
attitude. In practise, we find them with various finishes - raw, untreated plaster cast,
monochromed, polychromed or gilded, with different inner constructions - wood,
metal, fabric or hemp.

So, from the restorers point of view, these are complicated objects made of different
kinds of materials, posing a wide range of conservation problems.

* Head of Sculpture Conservation Workshop, The National Museum in Krakow, ul. Krupnicza 26,
31-123 Krakow, Poland, +48 12 3708196, aklosowska(S)muzeum.krakow.pl

** Conservator, Sculpture Conservation Workshop, National Museum in Krakow, ul. Krupnicza 26,
31-123 Kraków, Poland, +48 12 3708196, mobarzanowski(3)muzeum.krakow.pl

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