The Professor: Licio Isolani
The Course: Foundry I and II
Fine Arts Professor Licio Isolani gained his skills in bronze casting at the Instituto Statale D’Arte in Florence. When he came to Pratt more than four decades ago, Isolani designed and built what remains the only functioning professional foundry in an educational institution in the New York metropolitan area.
Every fall and spring semester, Isolani teaches Foundry I and II in the metal shop, located in the Chemistry Building on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus. There he introduces a limited number of undergraduate and graduate students to the technological processes needed to cast an artwork in bronze using the ancient lost-wax technique, in which a metal is poured into a mold encasing a sculpture made of wax. Isolani’s teachings come to a dramatic climax when students pour the red-hot liquid bronze into a mold, replacing their wax sculptures (as a result of the hot metal melting the wax) with the metal that will harden into an enduring work of art. A day later, when the bronze has hardened and cooled, the students break open the mold to reveal their bronze sculpture, which they then polish and complete.
Text and Production: Adrienne Gyongy
Video and Production: Jonathan Weitz