“A revolution in Wax. Francesco Orso and the ‘Cabinets of figures’ in France”

For the first time, this book (in Italian) recounts the story of the display of life-sized wax figures in Revolutionary France, at the beginning of modern wax museums. Thanks to the biographies of the principal protagonists, the phenomenon — popular for more than two centuries — is explored.

The book’s author lingers briefly on the figure of Antoine Benoist, famous during the days of Louis the 14th, and then dwells on the life and work of Philippe Curtius (father of the future Madame Tussaud), who was active in Paris during the years of the Revolution, and who experienced some of its key moments first-hand. For example, the wax busts of Minister Necker and the duke of Orleans caried in triumph by the crowd on the 12th of July, 1789, during the disturbances at the Tuileries, which gave life to revolutionary acts. The spotlight then highlights the figure of Francesco Orso, a sculptor from Piedmont who had moved to Paris in 1785, and who had changed his name to Orsy. He opened an exhibition of wax figures that, too, would be touched by the events of the Revolution.

The book also presents a complete catalogue of the works of Francesco Orso, as well as a rich appendix with numerous inedited documents drawn from French and Italian archives.

Evening’s introduction (in Italian): Giovanni Agosto

The author will also speak.

Publishers of the book: Officina Libraria.

Entrance fee to the museum for the book presentation: free while seating lasts
Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 6:30 P.M.

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, Grand Salon
Via Gesù 5 – 20121 Milan

For further information:
T 02 7600 6132


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