ON COPYING BRONZE STATUETTES
Ann H. Allison, & Robert B. Pond
THE APPLICATION of the IM method here has been to a relatively straightforward example. Within less obvious series of bronze duplicates and variants it can make a substantial contribution through the determination of interrelationships. In the use of this method photographs cannot be substituted for the object itself as variables in the measurements are introduced and much technical and stylistic data is indiscernible. A group of bronzes is best examined at each location by the person conducting the research. This study has been presented with the realization that bronze casters at any point in time do not cast alike, but have their individual procedures. In this respect, care must be taken that knowledge of modern foundry methods does not lead to improper association with bronze casting practices in other periods. More intensive technical studies, especially that of radiography, will continue to reveal the “secrets” of each casting and the procedure of the artist or shop, thereby refining the results attainable by this method alone. The IM method cannot hurt a bronze, simple measurements of height are unreliable, and no other method is currently available which is applicable to the formation of a genealogical tree of castings related by motif which were fabricated before modern times. These specimens are rarely untouched duplicates of documented models. Combined with the art historical approach, the method widens the areas of cooperation between the conservator and the art historian as it assists in the question of aftercasts, fakes, and dating and in the identification of artist and workshop.
A STUDY OF THIS TYPE could only be made with the generous cooperation of museum personnel and collectors. We wish to express our deeply felt appreciation to Johathon Ashley-Smith of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Bertrand Jestaz, Amori LeFèbure, and their associates at the Musée du Louvre, and to Magdalene auf der Heyde and her family.