I know that in the olden days, like up to about forty years ago, art students would practice their figure drawing and portrait drawing skills on plaster or ceramic figures. It’s really the perfect substitute when a live model is not available. I found a ceramic bust of Mozart the other day in the thrift store and snapped it up immediately. With it I can practice my portrait skills and have a multitude of views. Turning the bust one way or the other gives me a lot of different angles to draw from. I can also set the bust up high or down low and get a completely different look that way.
I’ve heard that a lot of university art programs tossed out tons of ceramic and plaster figures when realism fell out of favor. That is a shame because I would love to have a dozen or so to use in my drawing practice. But, I will keep my eyes open at the thrift stores and will probably see more from time to time.