Plaster casts are replicas of other works of art. While the methods used to create casts vary, most commonly a mould is created by applying plaster of Paris, gelatin, silicone rubber or polyurethane to the original artifact. After the mould dries, it is removed, retaining an impression of the source object on its interior surfaces. Wet plaster is then poured into the resulting cavity. When this is dry, the mould is removed and the new cast is revealed.
Parting lines, the meeting point between two pieces from the traditional piece-mould process, indicate much about the age, quality and history of a cast. A thin parting line shows that the cast came from a high-quality, new mould. Over time, these mould sections break down, resulting in larger parting lines. The collection of plaster casts in the Bellarmine Museum reflects visible, but very clean and neat, parting lines. From this we are able to observe the care, impressive craftsmanship, and attention to detail the artists utilized both in the mould-making process and resulting plaster casts.
-Mara Giarratana Young '11, with Drs. Katherine Schwab and Jill Deupi, and Michael Keropian