NAS Retake: “Castaway” – David washed ashore in the antipodes
For this month’s NAS Retake we look at the incredible collection of casts in the NAS Archive and Collection.
To view the remnants of the facial features of Michelangelo’s David in the NAS cast collection is somewhat like considering the curious pieces of flotsam and jetsam washed ashore after a tropical storm. They have become, in so many ways, castaways adrift on an island continent.
As for David himself – he may also have washed ashore sometime in the past but alas, we have no records of this happening. If this were the case then he has gone missing – perhaps wandered off into the bush, as did so many of our early settlers, never to be seen again. His eyes, ears, nose and lips, however, found their way to NAS.
In the late 19th century, at a time when the cultural influence of classical learning was still strong, the Department of Art at Sydney Technical College, which in time would become NAS, purchased plaster casts from the London plaster firm of D. Brucciani. The plaster casts have been there for much of its history: silent witnesses to the development of systemized art education in Sydney. From a collection that once numbered in the hundreds however, only 30 or so complete casts have survived into this century and amongst them are the separate features of David’s face.
Are you a NAS student going into 2nd and 3rd year in 2021 and keen to see more casts? Join Deborah Beck and Lorraine Kypiotis in Drawing Week 2021 for the “Castaways” Drawing workshop.
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