Milena Gallipoli: Casting the Canon

Casting the Canon: Plaster Casts as Global Dissemination Media. Consumption Modalities During the Long 19th Century

View of the entrance hall of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. 1934. Published in: Boletín del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Vol. 1, Year 1, January and February of 1934. Buenos Aires.

By the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, there was an intense circulation of plaster casts from Europe’s most famous sculptures. The geographical scope of plaster casts collections acquired a global range given the consolidation of a trading network made up of a series of workshops that produced casts and a set of artistic and private institutions that purchased them. These visual artifacts served as pedagogical devices within artistic education but also had an exhibitive use since they were found in museums and also decorated public spaces and private venues of the elites and bourgeoisie. The main aim of this investigation is to analyze the consumption and display modalities of plaster casts as global dissemination media and their incidence in canon formation processes by putting a number of Latin American study cases in dialogue. Two concepts arise as key to this investigation: canon and copy, and the bond between them from a transregional perspective. In this sense, the context of Latin America provides a key element given that this research must also explore the intricate connections between the dissemination of a canonical art history and how these concepts were translated and adapted to a local background that was undergoing an institutionalization process towards the consolidation of its own artistic field.

Milena Gallipoli is born in Buenos Aires, she is currently a PhD candidate in History (Art History orientation) at the Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales (IDAES), Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM). In 2017, she was awarded a five-year doctoral grant from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) to undergo her research. She is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Argentinean and Latin American art history from the same institution and holds two undergraduate degrees from Buenos Aires University (UBA), a teaching university degree in Arts (Visual Arts orientation) and an Honorary Merit Diploma for her degree in Arts (Visual Arts orientation). Her research interests focus on the analysis of global trading networks and on materiality studies that explore the bonds between sculpture and the decorative arts. She has participated in research projects about Argentinean artists Ernesto de la Cárcova, Rogelio Yrurtia and Lía Correa Morales. Her publications include the exhibition catalogue “Ernesto de la Cárcova” and scholarly research advances in peer-review magazines.


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