Sculpture Journal

Pioneering sculptural workshop techniques: Filippo della Valle and Francesco Cerroti in eighteenth-century Rome

Sculpture Journal (2021), 30, (2), 153–162.

Abstract

The recent blossoming of studies on central Italian sculpture of the first half of the eighteenth century has not yet focused on artistic technique. In this article, an attempt is made to introduce this subject by providing, through a series of examples, a first picture of the practice and skills of two fundamental figures of those years: the sculptor Filippo della Valle and the stonemason Francesco Cerroti. The article focuses on their technical knowledge of materials in order to highlight the production system of the sculptor’s workshop, which included the extensive use of measuring points and ruled copying frames, and the important skills of the stonemason, so as to shed new light on a type of specialization that is often little considered. This reconstruction, although very specific, raises an important issue: the semi-industrialization of sculptural practice, regarding both specific tools and the involvement of professional figures, has always been attributed to the context of Antonio Canova, but as this article shows, it has much deeper roots.

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Author details

Parisi, Camilla