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Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux' maquette for the fountain he donated to Valenciennes

A maquette (French word for scale model, sometimes referred to by the Italian names plastico or modello) is a scale model or rough draft of an unfinished sculpture. An equivalent term is bozzetto, from the Italian word that means 'sketch'.

A maquette is used to visualize and test forms and ideas without incurring the expense and effort of producing a full-scale piece. It is the analogue of the painter's cartoon, modello, oil sketch, or drawn sketch. For commissioned works, especially monumental public sculptures, a maquette may be used to show the client how the finished work will relate to its proposed site. The term may also refer to a prototype for a video game, film, or other media. Modello, unlike the other terms, is also used for sketches for two-dimensional works such as paintings. Like oil sketches, these models by highly regarded artists can become as desirable as their completed works, as they show the process of developing an idea. For example, eleven bozzetti by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a Baroque sculptor who made his models from wax or baked terracotta, were displayed in an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004.[1] Some museums, such as the Museo dei Bozzetti in Pietrasanta, Italy, specialize in collections of maquettes.


  1. ^ Cassidy, Victor M. artnet. 2004. "Chicago Report. Accessed 22 August 2006.

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