To see the works of Michelangelo Buonarroti, perhaps the most celebrated sculptor of all time, one would likely have to travel to Florence or Paris, as no works by the artist exist outside of Europe. For a limited time in April, art aficionados can travel to Rockford, IL, to view bronzes cast directly from Michelangelo’s original study models. These unique pieces, authenticated by the Casa Buonarroti Museum in Florence, are made with a state-of-the-art scanning and casting process from Michelangelo’s early models of famous sculptures. The set of Michelangelo’s six bronze sculptures will be on display at Rockford’s Golan-Liberman Contemporary Art Gallery for one week starting April 11, 2008.
Art Casting of Illinois located in Oregon, IL, used a sophisticated laser scanning process to produce precise 360 degree images of the earliest-known of Michelangelo’s small scale works that he used as study pieces. These scans were used to create molds for casting authentic bronze originals that will carry the official seal of authentication by the Casa Buonarroti Museum in Italy where the models are on display. Only eight sets of six will be available for sale. The Golan-Liberman gallery will offer the first public showing. Bronze castings of the following Michelangelo models will be on display for sale at the gallery:
• Nudo Virile (Male Nude)
• Torso Virile (Male Torso)
• Dio Fluviale (River God)
• Due Lottatori (Two Wrestlers)
• Nudo Femminile (Female Nude)
• Crocefisso (Crucifix)
This process was made possible from the expertise and generosity of others. Initial contact and facilitating sales is the responsibility of Bruce Duncan of the Chicago Appraisers Association provided initial contact and facilitated sales; Art Casting of Illinois provided laser scanning and casting; Eiger Labs of Rockford supplied rapid prototyping. In addition, a documentary film by Comtech of Rockford is now in production.
Harry and Karly Spell of Art Casting of Illinois began the process in June of 2007, when the Spells visited Casa Buonarroti Museum in Italy where they scanned Michelangelo’s original statues. The files were sent to Rockford’s Eiger Lab for production of the positive models, followed by the normal process of rubber molds, waxes, ceramic shells, and bronze casting. The laser scanning process allows a mold to be created without ever touching the sculpture itself, the only viable method to reproduce Michelangelo’s fragile ancient statues. After the eight sets of the bronze pieces are produced, the rubber mold will be destroyed to eliminate the possibility of fraud. Each bronze piece will be authenticated by Dr. Pina Ragionieri, director of the Casa Buonarroti museum, and will carry the official seal of the museum. Proceeds from the sale of the models will benefit the Casa Buonarroti Foundation.
The first exhibit of the Michelangelo bronzes can be viewed at Golan-Liberman Contemporary Art Gallery starting April 11, 2008, at 2209 E. State Street, Rockford, IL. Admission is $5. To learn more about the gallery, log on to www.golanliberman.com. Art Casting of Illinois has been producing fine art sculpture for 19 years. For more information visit www.harryspell.com or call 815-732-7777.