Eckart Marchand


Claude Joseph Vernet: Entrance to the Port of Palermo by Moonlight, 1769.
Antoine-Denis Chaudet, Joseph is sold by his brothers, Painted Plaster, 1784, Paris, Musée du Louvre.


Dr. phil. Eckart Marchand
Assistant Archivist
The Warburg Institute
Woburn Square
London WC1H 0AB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8949



Plaster Casts in Artists’ Workshops c. 1400-1800

My research concerns the functions of plaster casts in artists’ workshops from the Renaissance to the early nineteenth century, focusing on Renaissance Italy, France in the context of the Salon and French Academy in Rome during the ancien régime, and eighteenth-century Britain in the context of the Grand Tour. My research concerns the works of artists such as Donatello, Baccio Bandinelli, Primaticcio, Pierre Puget, Houdon, Canova, and Flaxman.

Plaster casts played important roles in the dissemination of visual ideas and the reception of the antique in particular. Made of a cheap and unassuming material in a technique that lacks apparent artistic input, these objects were often indexical, that is, they pointed beyond themselves towards an implied original with which they were often confused. At the same time, they often granted encounters with the absent originals that were strongly conditioned by their own materiality, greater availability and lower material value. For these reasons casts invite a fruitful combination of iconological studies with more recently developed approaches in the field of materiality.

In my research I am particularly interested in the function of these objects, their status in the context of historically changing concepts of copy and original. I am studying their role as models in cultures that propaget learning by exemplars, as well as their reception in drawings and paintings.

Gipsabgüsse in Künstlerwerkstätten, 1400-1800

Mein Projekt untersucht Funktionen, Status und Rezeption von Gipsabgüssen in Künstlerwerkstätten von der Renaissance bis ca. 1800. In diesem Zeitraum spielten Gipsabgüsse eine zunehmende Rollen in der Verbreitung von Bildern und Motiven, nicht zuletzt im Kontext der Antikenrezeption. Hergestellt aus einem billigen, weitgehend assoziationsfreien Material und mittels einer oft als rein mechanisch verstandenen Technik, hatten Gipse meist indexikale Funktionen, das heißt, sie verwiesen über sich selbst hinaus auf vermeintlich zugrunde liegende Originale, die ihrerseits den Diskurs über die Abgüsse dominieren konnten. Zugleich beeinflußten Abgüsse gerade durch Eigenschaften wie ihre oft übersehene Materialiät und leichtere Verfügbarkeit die Rezeption der Originale. Einer Untersuchung, die ikonographische Fragestellungen mit Fragen zur Materialität kombiniert, bieten Gipsabgüsse daher ein reichhaltiges und aussagekräftiges Forschungsmaterial.

Themen meiner Untersuchung sind unter anderem die sich wandelnden Funktionen der Abgüsse, ihr Status, bezüglich der Kategorien ‘Original’ und ‘Kopie’, aber auch als Modelle in stark auf Lernen nach Vorbildern ausgerichteten Kulturen, sowie ihre Rezeption in schriftlichen so wie bildlichen Quellen. Zeitlich-geographische Schwerpunkte bilden die italienische und französische Renaissance, Frankreich im Kontext von Salon und der französischen Akademie in Rom, sowie Großbritannien im Kontext der Grand Tour. Ich beschäftige mich mit Werken von Bildhauern wie Donatello, Baccio Bandinelli, Primaticcio, Pierre Puget, Houdon, Canova und Flaxman.



Research Interests

Plaster casts and materiality studies, particularly in relation to “lesser” materials such as plaster, clay, wax and sugar in the Italian and French Renaissance and early modern period

British sculpture of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the context of the Grand Tour, particularly the work of John Flaxman

The representation and interpretation of gestures in Italian Renaissance painting

Academic Background

1986-1988 University of Ancona: Medicine

1988-1993 Universities of Berlin (FU), Bonn and Basel: licentiatus philosophiae in Art History, Classical Archaeology and Ecclesiastical History

1993-2000 The University of Basel: PhD in Art History

1993-1997 Full-time Occasional Student at the The Warburg Institute, University of London


1993-1995 PhD Scholarship: Gerda Henkel Foundation, Düsseldorf

2005 The British Academy, Small Research Grant; project title: Sculpture in Arcadia: Garden sculpture in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

2007 Yale Center for British Art, Yale, New Haven, one month residential research grant



Gebärden in der Florentiner Malerei. Studien zur Charakterisierung von Heiligen, Uomini Famosi und
Zeitgenossen im Quattrocento, Lit Verlag, Münster 2004

Co-authored books

with H. Brigstocke and A. E. Wright, John Flaxman and William Young Ottley in Italy, (Walpole Society 72 (2010))

Conference papers with co-written introductions

Rune Frederiksen and Eckart Marchand (eds), Plaster Casts: making, collecting and display, (Transformationen der Antike, 18) Berlin 2010

Sue Malvern and Eckart Marchand (guest editors), Sculpture in Arcadia, (Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes vol. 29, 1&2, 2009)

Eckart Marchand and Alison Wright (eds), With and Without the Medici: Studies in Tuscan Art and Patronage, 1434-1530, Ashgate Publishers, Aldershot 1998 [6 articles]


‘Artist and Grand Tourist: John Flaxman’s Italian Journals and Sketchbooks’ in T. Macsotay, ed., Antiquity Multiplied. Rome as a European Sculpture Workshop (1770-1820), Ashgate, Aldershot, forthcoming 2015.

‘Material Distinctions: Plaster, Terracotta, and Wax in the Renaissance artist’s workshop’ in C. Anderson, A. Dunlop and P. Smith, eds, Shaping Objects. Art, Materials, Making,and Meaning, Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2014.

‘His Master’s Voice: Painted Inscriptions in the Work of Domenico Ghirlandaio’, Artibus et historiae, 66, 2012, pp. 99-120.

‘Plaster and Plaster Casts in the Italian Renaissance’, in: Rune Frederiksen and Eckart Marchand (eds), Plaster Casts: making, collecting and display, (Transformationen der Antike, 18), Berlin, 2010, pp. 49-79.

‘Reproducing Relief: The Use and Status of Plaster Casts in the Italian Renaissance’ in D. Cooper, M. Leino, eds, Depth of Field: Relief Sculpture in Renaissance Italy, Peter Lang, Oxford, Bern, and elsewhere, 2007 pp. 191-222.

‘Exemplary Gestures and ‘Authentic’ Physiognomies: Ghirlandaio’s Famous Men in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’ Apollo, vol. 159, 2004, no. 506, pp. 3-11.

‘“una mensa con fighure d’apostoli e del nostro signiore”: Ghirlandaios Abendmahlsdarstellungen’ in Michael Rohlmann (ed.), Domenico Ghirlandaio. Künstlerische Konstruktion von Identität im Florenz der Renaissance, Weimar 2003, pp. 89-128.

‘Monastic Imitatio Christi: Andrea del Castagno’s Cenacolo at S. Apollonia’, Artibus et Historiae, 47, 2003, pp. 31-50.

‘The Flaxman Gallery at University College and its History’, in: D. Bindman, ed., John Flaxman 1755-1826: Master of the Purest Line, Exh. Cat. Sir John Soane’s Museum and University College London 2003, pp. 37-43.

‘The Representation of Citizens in Religious Fresco Cycles in Tuscany’ in With and Without the Medici: Studies in Tuscan Art and Patronage, 1434-1530 (see above).


Ashmolean Museum Oxford, new plaster cast gallery, The Sculpture Journal, vol. 21.1 (2012), pp. 135-137.

Stephen J. Campbell and Michael W. Cole, A New History of Italian Renaissance Art, Thames & Hudson, London, 2012, Apollo, CLXXV/599, June 2012, pp. 122-3.

Bode Museum Berlin, John Flaxman und die Renaissance. Ein Meister des Klassizismus im Dialog mit Masaccio und Donatello, (April-July 2009), exhibition review, The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLI, no. 1276, July 2009, pp. 491-2.

Paula Nuttal, From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting 1400-1500, Yale University Press, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2004, Apollo, Vol. CLXI no. 516 (New
Series) February 2005, pp. 74-75.

Hamburger Kunsthalle, Ich, Lovis Corinth: Die Selbstbildnisse, (November 2004-February 2005), exhibition review, Apollo, Vol. CLXI no. 515 (New Series) January 2005, pp. 80-81.

Michael Wiemers, Bildform und Werkgenese, Berlin 1996, The Art Newspaper, vol. VIII no. 74 (October 1997).

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