About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Faculty Focus

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

References (4)

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  • Response
    Teaching fine arts to student in fall semester is not every school or university do. I have been looking for courses like this to make a sculpture now with perfect help I can learn how to mold fire.
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Reader Comments (3)

WOW! Licio Isolani was my sculpture teacher in the late 60's. He taught our female students how to handle and use a variety of tools and techniques that we had never before experienced. The confidence in our abilities has stayed with me and is passed on to my students. Our Art Education majors had our first casting experience in the Chem building- a sandbox filled with Coney Island sand, built to contain hollow cardboard sculptures which where filled with molten lead. As a high school art teacher for many years, I have used that technique using plaster instead of metal. My students were given that first casting experience, which was more vivid than any UTube video. I am so happy to see students are still experiencing these exciting sculptural firsts under Licio Isolani's excellent guidance.
December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Crystal Hebel
Bronze is hotter than "red hot" when poured. I have been a metalsmith for 31 years, poured a little bronze, and I heat it to white hot as shown in your photo with the article.
I wish that Pratt had this program in place when I started in '58. It would not have taken me as long as it did to find Metal as an art form and build my forge.
Hopefully a few of todays students will get the bug and make this their lifes work.
December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Worsley
I am currently a Pratt Graduate student but did my undergraduate work in Metal Casting (Bronze, Aluminum, Iron, Copper) and Steel Welding at the University of Maryland in College Park. I would love to learn more information about this course and perhaps attend a student pour. Casting is such a great process! I'm excited it exists at Pratt Institute.
December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLenny Reisner

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