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  2. Known since ancient times, plaster of paris is so called because of its preparation from the abundant gypsum found near Paris. Plaster of paris does not generally shrink or crack when dry, making it an excellent medium for casting molds. It is commonly used to precast and hold parts of ornamental plasterwork placed on ceilings and cornices.

  3. Mar 2, 2017 · Named for the huge gypsum deposits of Montmartre, plaster of Paris’ appearance as a sculptural medium dates to Mesopotamia, when classical statues were draped in fringed gypsum skirts and dresses. From the Tigris and Euphrates the material made its way into Western European history through architectural details, columns, pilasters, and mouldings.

  4. In medieval and Renaissance tempera painting, the surface was covered first with a layer of gesso grosso (rough gesso) made with coarse unslaked plaster, then with a series of layers of gesso sottile (finishing gesso) made with fine plaster slaked in water, which produced an opaque, white, reflective surface.

    • The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
  5. The everyday medium of plaster has a centuries-long history in artist’s workshops and sculpture studios as well as interior architectural decoration. 2 Like wax, plaster maintained ritual uses as well artistic ones, generating such objects as death masks, ephemeral monuments and effigies, and religious tableaux for indoor and outdoor settings.

  6. Plaster casts have been formative for many artistic movements such as Renaissance, Baroque or Neo-Classicism. From the 15th century on casts were part of private collections of scholars, artists, aristocrats and royals in Europe. The replicas constituted an early canon of what were considered masterworks of the ancient Greek and Roman world.

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