Gipsoteca Fumagalli e Dossi: the art of learning by imitation
Gipsoteca Fumagalli e Dossi is at art’s service. Art is learned by imitation: any art school or academy student can tell you. Creative innovation is only born out of constant and humble observation and by copying nature and other artists’ works. It has something to do about the way we are built as humans, as Theodor Adorno put so well:
The human is indissolubly linked with imitation: a human being only becomes human at all by imitating other human beings.
Leonardo once wrote,
Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master. Yet many of us have tried firsthand how we can be brave enough to attempt outdoing our teachers only after patiently copying their works and mastering their techniques.
Today, Gipsoteca Fumagalli e Dossi in Via Montello, Milan is probably the best supplier of plaster casts for Italian art schools.
Founded in 1974 – after the current owners took over the workshop that had belonged to their teacher, Cesare Bertolazzi – it has churned out casts for every possible classical subject, for decades: its catalog now lists over four hundred models, from busts to friezes, from heads to statues to reliefs. All perfect replicas of original works of art, or perhaps simply art themselves.