The Science of Wax
Book of Proceedings LONDON 2017

Proceedings of the International congress on Wax Modelling London 2017
(ISBN 978-88-913-1841-1)
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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.

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.

Edited by: Roberta Ballestriero, Owen Burke, Francesco Maria Galassi
ISBN: 9788891318411
Hardcover. Pages: 458. Illustrations B/W: 32. Illustrations colour: 104.
Dimensions : 16.89 x 23.9 cm