Archived project

Ceroplastics - International Congress on Wax Modelling. University of Padua, 7-8 June 2019

Goal: After the pioneering Ceroplastics Congresses (Florence, 1975 and London, 1978) the first in 40 years was held on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of September 2017, at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, King’s College in collaboration with The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers and Madame Tussauds. It was an independent event conceived and organised by Dr Roberta Ballestriero who spent the last 23 years researching the art of ceroplastics (wax modelling) in its different forms.
Of ancient origins, the art of ceroplastics or wax modelling was rediscovered in the 13th – 14th century in Italy with the cult of votive artefacts and it is again in Italy that the first anatomical models and scientific collections were developed during the 18th century.
Padua is the perfect venue to explore different aspects of this art (religious, secular, scientific).In2019,with the help of many international experts in the field, we will continue to explore the multidisciplinary potentials of this fascinating technique in Art and Science.

Date: 4 October 2017 - 8 June 2019

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Roberta Ballestriero
added 2 research items
Re-discovered in the 13th – 14th centuries in Florence with the cult of votive offerings, the art of wax modelling or ceroplastics has an ancient origin, from early Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. It reached its artistic peak during the Renaissance when it was considered the material par excellence for the representation of portraits, sketches and funeral masks. With the advent of Neoclassicism, it extended into a more scientific environment, flourishing in the study of normal and pathological anatomy, obstetrics, zoology and botany. As Vasari underlined in the 16th century, it seems as if wax figures lack nothing but a breath of life, the spirit, the power of speech. Wax is a rich, complex medium allowing the creation of hyperrealistic figures, anatomical models with ‘living’ flesh and skin, votive offerings, wax death masks and portraits. For its resemblance to human flesh the results obtained can transcend reality and often cause us an array of feelings: pleasure, perplexity, surprise, discomfort – wax models rarely leave us indifferent. On the 1st-3rd of September 2017, the major institutions related to the art of Ceroplastics (Wax Modelling) met again, the first meeting of its kind for 40 years, at an International Congress in London, presented at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, King’s College in collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers. This conference proceedings offers a comprehensive overview of many different aspects of wax modelling, including: History (Major Collections), Anatomy and Science (Anatomical/botanical models), Art and Portraiture (Effigies, Portraits, Waxworks, Funeral Masks, Votive Offerings), Conservation and Restoration (maintaining, cleaning, repairing), Techniques and Contemporary Art. The art of wax modelling encompasses a great many subject areas and this book contains papers from art historians, artists, sculptors, historians, physicians and museum curators and is relevant to anyone who is interested in art history, fine arts, religious studies, psychology, criminology, anthropology, medicine, pathology, restoration and museology.
Roberta Ballestriero
added a project goal
After the pioneering Ceroplastics Congresses (Florence, 1975 and London, 1978) the first in 40 years was held on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of September 2017, at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, King’s College in collaboration with The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers and Madame Tussauds. It was an independent event conceived and organised by Dr Roberta Ballestriero who spent the last 23 years researching the art of ceroplastics (wax modelling) in its different forms.
Of ancient origins, the art of ceroplastics or wax modelling was rediscovered in the 13th – 14th century in Italy with the cult of votive artefacts and it is again in Italy that the first anatomical models and scientific collections were developed during the 18th century.
Padua is the perfect venue to explore different aspects of this art (religious, secular, scientific).In2019,with the help of many international experts in the field, we will continue to explore the multidisciplinary potentials of this fascinating technique in Art and Science.