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This is a place where the visitors are confronted with their search for a personal touch and where they have an opportunity to get acquainted with a skilled expert, who has turned durability and tradition into a personal passion.
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Tuesday, 4 December 2012


The plaster-cast workshop of the Museum
Patrick Damiaens

Ornamental Woodcarver -
Historic plaster ornaments

Plaster casts of historical ornaments and plaster statues

The Museum of Art and History 
in Brussels (The Cinquantenaire )

The plaster-cast workshop of the Cinquantenaire Museum of Art and History in Brussels, the visit.

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed in other blog-items, the search for new ornamental models, designs and inspiration plays an important role in becoming an excellent ornamental woodcarver.

Sketches and photographic material are an important source of knowledge, the latter of which has become increasingly more important in the gathering of knowledge thanks to the invention of the digital camera. 

Tangible models from all kinds of material are, however, still the first and foremost form of inspiration. Seeing as wooden, stone or clay models aren’t easy to come by, plaster ornaments, casts of ornaments, plaster casts, statues and models are ideal substitutes for a woodcarver.

Wonderful plaster ornaments ,models and examples

Historic plaster ornaments

These Historic plaster ornaments, statues and casts hold great educational value. They allow the ornamentalist to truly observe the design and character of a certain stylistic period or to discover the typical characteristics of that period.

Every now and again I travel to Brussels and each time I’m there, I traditionally pay a visit to the Cinquantenaire Museum. My absolute favourite is the Museum of Art and History, which is Belgium’s largest museum. 

4000 different molds of plaster casts, plaster replicas and plaster ornaments 

Bas-relief  plaster

The Cinquantenaire Museum
In the Cinquantenaire Museum you can literally walk from prehistoric celts to Egyptian mummies. You can nose about for delftware and take a step back to gaze at the impressive Brussels tapestries.

One minute you can wander off to the orient and walk between the Asian Buddhas only to find yourself in a completely different part of the world the next, admiring a giant Easter Island statue. 

Not to mention the lovely collection of Belgian art nouveau…in short, in the Cinquantenaire Museum you can travel across time and continents, from prehistoric times to the 20th century. It’s a delight to lose yourself in.

The museum has a section called ‘Atelier de Moulages’ or plaster-cast workshop (free admission). The people are really friendly and you can actually purchase plaster models, casts of ornaments, plaster statues and bas-reliefs at affordable prices.

For information on how to find the workshop, it’s best to turn to the museum’s inquiry/ticket office. Admission to the plaster-cast workshop is free. The educational and cultural service of the Cinquantenaire Museum organizes tours on request.

Main entrance of the Museum
The Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels

In the Cinquantenaire Museum,you can see national archaeological artefacts from prehistory to the age of the Merovingians, as well as finds from Egypt, the Near East, Iran and Classical Antiquity. 

Among the star attractions are the collections of Egyptian sarcophagi and Greek vases, the great mosaic floor from Apamea and the model of Ancient Rome. 

There are also non-European art treasures from China, South-east Asia, Central Asia, the cultural world of Islam, America and Oceania. Particularly famous is the collection of pre-Columbian art and another eye-catcher is the colossal statue from Easter Island. 

There is also a representative selection of European decorative art, ranging from Romanesque Art to Art Deco. Among the collections not to be missed are the Mosan liturgical treasures, the tapestries, the retables, the glassware and the Art Nouveau figures.

Indeed, some of the art treasures in this museum are right out of the top drawer.

Museum website

The Plaster-cast Workshop

The Plaster-cast Workshop was established in the nineteenth century during the reign of King Leopold II. It houses a collection of more than 4 000 casts of works of art dating from prehistoric times to the eighteenth century. 

In reproducing those works of art, the workshop’s specialized craftsmen employ traditional techniques in both the casting and the patination. 
To give you an idea of their work, we have made a selection from the various casts that they have made.

The Museum of art and history in Brussels the plaster-cast Workshop

Casting Workshop of the Museum, plaster replicas and bas-reliefs

By offering casts at reasonable prices, the workshop helps to promote art. 
The larger examples, such as busts, full-length statues, reliefs, etc., have to be ordered, but there is a good stock of the smaller examples. Indeed, there is something to suit everyone’s pocket and taste. 

Prices can be found on the pdf file and some casts are on sale in the Cinquantenaire Museum shop.

Admission to the workshop is free and the Educational and Cultural Service of the Cinquantenaire Museum organizes guided tours on request.

More information on plaster casts, casts of ornaments and historical plaster ornaments.
Plaster-casts Workshop

Opening hours
Tuesdays to Fridays : 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. en 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Closed on Weekends, Mondays, Feast-days, 1 January, 2, 15 en 16 November, and from 25 December to 31 December.

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