The church of San Paolo all’Orto in Pisa is home to Pisa University’s plaster cast gallery of ancient art. Used for archaeology workshops during the nineteenth century, today the collection offers an overview of artworks from the Greek, Etruscan and Roman eras, some well known, some less so, in the form of plaster and plastic models plastic models that faithfully mimic ancient pieces that are found in museums across Italy and the world over.
The artworks at the plaster cast gallery are arranged by chronology and theme, and they represent a selection of pieces from the Severe and Late Archaic periods in Greek art (the group of Athenian Tyrannicides, Kritios’ Ephebe (adolescent male), a statue of Penelope); and a selection from the Classical era in the area of the church choir (bust of Athena, statue of Marsyas, Hermes of Olympia), which face opposite works from the Hellenistic and Roman periods (Venus de Milo, Aprodite of Cyrene, Apollo Belvedere, Girl from Anzio).
The naves are lined with Etruscan funerary reliefs, as well as the famous Capitoline Wolf, while sections from the Parthenon frieze are reproduced off to the right. On the left, meanwhile, one finds specimens of Attic funerary stele. An exception to this is the famous statue of Laocoon and his sons, the original of which lives in the Vatican Museums.
The Pisa University plaster cast gallery of ancient art also includes the Antiquarium, with some 1500, mostly ceramic exhibits, and the Prehistoric Archaeology Collections.