This plaster bust is part of a didactic display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris explaining the process of translating a clay sculpture into the final material (marble, for instance), with the plaster shown here as an intermediate step.

The graphite registrations reveal moments in the surface that are valued by the sculptor as reference for the finished piece. In Canova’s plasters he inserts small metal pegs to perform the same role. While some of the registrations mark extremities, many are chosen more critically to reveal a particular sensibility of surface.


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