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Pennsylvania Academy Sculpture Plaster Cast Restorations

Ghiberti Doors & Houdon L' Ecorche Restoration


Ghiberti Door


This page continues the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts plaster cast restorations completed 1979-1984.

Besides the Parthenon plaster frieze many other sculptures at the Academy needed attention. The pieces of the Ghiberti Door were found in a small studio closet in the Peale House on Chestnut St. Most of the individual panels, heads and figure sections were in reasonably decent shape, while others needed considerable repair. Unfortunately one of the square panels was missing as was some of the heads and figure panels, including Ghiberti's self portrait.

It was our first intention to erect the door panels in the same order as they appear on the Baptistry in Florence using blanks for the missing or lost pieces. We were told by the President of the Academy to only use the panels we had eliminating a row. We also had the challenge of figuring out how we would attach and assemble all the plaster pieces on the wall of the auditorium. We came up with framing each plaster section individually. Brackets were then attached to each of the frames. The frames would then attach to an anchored boards. The surrounding floral panels sat on anchored pins and hooks. We chose this method as it provided the best protection of the plasters and the complete structure could be easily taken down.

ghiberti Door ghiberti door ghiberti door plaster
Ghiberti Door pieces laid out on the floor.
Notice the unframed heads and figure panels.
Part of the anchored wood structure from which all the framed panels hang. The Ghiberti Door was the last of our restoration projects at the Academy.
houdon pafa
Ken cleaning off several layers of paint. PAFA Houdon L'Ecorche Restoration
During the restoration of the National Academy of Design's Houdon L'Ecorche in 1996. I was able to obtain a copy of the two missing arms and presented a pair of them to the Dean of PAFA.

For more information about the Houdon L'Ecorche restorations and to order copies of the Houdon Figures click on:



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