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Are all casts created equal?

04 November 2023

The Kritios Boy cast in the Logie Collection. JLMC CC15James Logie Memorial Collection

Plaster cast collections are scattered throughout New Zealand museums and other institutions. Due to the large quantity of available casts of ancient artefacts, duplications between the various collections are rare. Most of the Logie Collection casts therefore appear to be unique in New Zealand, apart from one interesting exception.

Both the Logie Collection and the Otago Museum hold a plaster cast of the Kritios Boy. The Otago Museum copy of the Kritios Boy was produced by the Gipsformerei (Replica Workshop) of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (State Art Collections) in Dresden around 1975.

There are apparent differences between the Otago Museum example and the one in the Logie Collection. In particular, the Otago Museum version has a shorter left leg, which ends just under the knee. It is also represented as the original was found during excavation, with the head separate from the body. Although the head of the Otago Museun Kritios Boy is connected to the body, the neck is fractured along the joint, and a section of his neck is missing.

The Logie Collection Kritios Boy has been cast in such a way that the separation does not show. Moreover, the face of the Logie Collection copy is smoother than the Otago Museum version, particularly around the nose, mouth, and chin.

These differences highlight the varied approaches to producing casts. There is ongoing discussion about the best way to present casts: as the originals were found (like the Otago Museum version), or as they were when the original sculpture was new (as in the Logie Collection version).

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