A small private space, sumptuously decorated, built by Renaissance princes in their castles to house their collections of ancient coins and antiquities, gems, natural curiosities, musical instruments, illuminated manuscripts, and other precious works of art.
An inner room, part of Isabella d’Este’s studiolo was named grotta for the low barrel-vaulted ceiling (similar to a grotto) of its first location in the Castello di San Giorgio in Mantua. After 1519 Isabella moved her studiolo and grotta to a new location in the ducal palace, illustrated here.
Photo Credit: Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, Italy
Indirect Lost-wax Casting
A casting method that produces multiple bronzes from a single model. A wax model was prepared in the form of the desired bronze figure (A). A plaster piece mold would be prepared around the model, then disassembled and the model removed (B). The mold was reassembled, tightly bound, and used to cast a wax copy in several parts. For solid parts, the mold was filled with hot wax (C). For hollow parts, the wax was swirled inside the mold and the excess poured out (D). The remaining wax shell was filled with a mixture of plaster and sand, forming a core, and the wax with its core was then removed from the mold (E). The wax parts were joined and finished, and fine iron wires were inserted to secure the core (F). Channels were added to the wax model to allow the molten bronze to be poured in and gases to escape (G). This assembly was then encased in a plaster mixture (H). The plaster mold was heated and dried. The wax was melted out, leaving a void in the shape of the model, and the plaster core suspended inside by the iron wires (I). Molten bronze was poured in, surrounding the core and filling every part of the mold (J). The channels and core pins were removed from the cast and the surface was cleaned, chased, and polished (K).
Hercules, model created by 1496, cast possibly by 1496, bronze with gilding and silvering, The Frick Collection, New York, Gift of Miss Helen Clay Frick