The Museum of Plaster Statuettes and Emigration, unique in its kind, explains the art of modelling plaster and the associated phenomenon of the statuette makers emigration from their homes in the mid Serchio valley between 1600 and today. In its showcases we find a vast range of plaster models produced in all parts of the world. One section is dedicated to the plaster statuettes and includes XVIIth century figures of cats, busts of historical and literary characters, copies of Greek and Roman sculpture as well as a XIXth century Christmas crib. Another section, on the ground floor, preserves documents on the emigration of the statuette makers such as passports, letters and photographs. Finally, much space has been devoted to the illustration of the methods used in making the figures and to the display of the religious statuettes that made the fortune of so many artisans in the second half of the XIXth century.
This Museum is a must for all those interested in the history and development of plaster statuettes.
Via del Mangano, 17 coreglia antelminelli
Type of collection
Historical critical news
The art of modelling plaster originated in Coreglia, probably between the XVIth and XVIIth century; from then onwards this activity became more and more important until it was the main occupation of the local population. Only few very simple tools were necessary to make the plaster statuettes; they were easy to carry and so well suited the mass emigration that took place among the artisans from the 17th century in the mid Serchio valley.
The "figurinai" or "figuristi" as they were called were artisans who travelled, usually on foot, from one town or from one state to another selling the statuettes they had made during the night in their flying workshops. As a tribute to their historical importance from a socio-economic as well as from a cultural point of view a Museum with around 1000 specimens produced by some of the most expert makers between the XVIIIth and the XXth century was founded in Coreglia in 1975. Part of these figures were made by pupils of the "Scuola di Disegno e Plastica", a school founded in 1883 to give a basic education to those who wanted to emigrate and practise the trade of statuette maker. The initiator, Cav. Carlo Vanni, who belonged himself to a family of statuette makers and entrepreneurs, chose two distinguished artisans to be the first teachers in the newly established school: Giocondo Molinari and Nicolao Mazzotti. Several of their works can be seen in the Museum. Carlo Vanni donated the mansion which now houses the Museum when he moved to Vienna.
- LERA G., TAGLIASACCHI P., Museo della Figurina di gesso e dell´Emigrazione, Comune di Coreglia Antelminelli, 1990.
- TAGLIASACCHI P., Coreglia Antelminelli, Patria del Figurinaio, Coreglia Antelminelli 1990
- AA.VV., Il Museo per conoscere, Soprintendenza per i Beni A.A.A.S. di Pisa, Lucca, Livorno, Massa, Anno I - n. 1 - 2 (Pubblicazione Periodica).
- LERA M., GipsKatter gatti di gesso, Maria Pacini Fazzi, Lucca 1986.