Reference Library: Sculpture
:Sculptor redirects here. For the constellation, see Sculptor (constellation).
A 'sculpture' is a three-dimensional, human-made object selected for special recognition as art.
Materials of sculpture
Materials of sculpture through history
Throughout history the purpose of creating sculpture has been to produce works of art that are as permanent as is possible, so to that end works were usually produced in durable and frequently expensive materials, primarily bronze and stone such as marble, limestone, porphyry, and granite. More rarely precious materials such as gold, silver, jade, and ivory were used for chryselephantine works.
More common and less expensive materials were used for sculpture for wider consumption, including woods such as oak, box and lime; terracotta and other ceramics and cast metals such as pewter and spelter.
Sculptors often built small preliminary works called maquettes of ephemeral materials such as plaster of paris, wax, clay and even plasticine, as Alfred Gilbert did for 'Eros' at Piccadilly Circus, London.
Most traditional sculpture materials are still in wide use today. However, advancements in technology and changes have broadened the range of materials sculptors can choose to use, including glass and sand, aluminum, polymers and many other synthetic materials, and liquid crystals.
It is common for film sculptors to carve large statuary from blocks of polystyrene: although not particularly durable, it is light and can be cut easily using a hot wire.
One way to make the film sculpture extremely durable is to cover it with a slurry of portland cement and acrylic. The next durability level is gained through immersing course cloth such a burlap in the slurry and applying that to the foam. Coarse hessian cloth soaked in this slurry can be sculpted with wood files later. Areas requiring additional material can be filled with a plaster made from the slurry and short fibers. This sculptural material is explained in detail using small roofs (See http://www.ferrocement.com/bioFiber/y5-roofLabContents.en.html for additional information).
One should realize that the foam is not mandatory underneath, a wad of newspaper or crushed cardboard works also. To examine a welded steel version which has the foam inserted as the last step http://ferrocement.com/products/fountain.01.html
Some sculptures are multimedia, for example sound sculptures which, as their name implies, produce sound. Many artists use video and computers in their sculptures as well. Computers and motors can also be used in sculptures, leading to works that may be classified as robotic. Some sculptors are using 3D modeling software and rapid prototyping systems to realize sculptural form in plastic polymers. Sculptors are also using CNC mills to mill out stone and clay in creating works that can be visualized virtually and manifested physically.
Sculptors are constantly searching for new ways to make art and for new materials to make it with, including blood, feces, dead animals. See also body fluids in art. Andy Goldsworthy is notable as a sculptor for his use of almost entirely natural materials in natural settings and for creating sculptures much more ephemeral than is typical. Jim Gary used automobile parts, tools, machine parts, and hardware in many of his sculptures as well as stained glass. Pablo Picasso used bicycle parts for one of his most famous sculptures.
In his late writings, Joan Miró even proposed that some day sculptures might be made of gases; see gas sculpture.
Sculpture around the world
:See also History of sculpture
:See also Buddhist art
Many different forms of sculpture were in use in the many different regions of Asia, often based around the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. A great deal of Cambodian Hindu sculpture is preserved at Angkor, however organized looting has had a heavy impact on many sites around the country. Also see Angkor Wat. In Thailand, sculpture was almost exclusively of Buddha images. Many Thai sculptures or temples are gilded, and on occasion enriched with inlays. See also Thai art
:See also Indian Art
The first sculptures in India date back to the Indus Valley civilization, where stone and bronze carvings have been discovered. This is one of the earliest instances of sculpture in the world. Later, as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism developed further, India produced some of the most intricate bronzes in the world, as well as unriveled temple carvings. Some huge shrines, such as the one at Ellora were not actually constructed using blocks, but instead carved out of solid rock, making them perhaps the largest and most intricate sculptures in the world.
During the 2nd to 1st century BCE in far northern India, in what is now southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, sculptures became more explicit, representing episodes of the Buddha’s life and teachings. Although India had a long sculptural tradition and a mastery of rich iconography, the Buddha was never represented in human form before this time, but only through some of his symbols. This may be because Gandharan Buddhist sculpture in modern Afghanistan displays Greek and Persian artistic influence. Artistically, the Gandharan school of sculpture is said to have contributed wavy hair, drapery covering both shoulders, shoes and sandals, acanthus leaf decorations, etc.
The pink sandstone sculptures of Mathura evolved during the Gupta period (4th to 6th century) to reach a very high fineness of execution and delicacy in the modeling. Newer sculptures in Afghanistan, in stucco, schist or clay, display very strong blending of Indian post-Gupta mannerism and Classical influence, Hellenistic or possibly even Greco-Roman. Meanwhile, elsewhere in India, less anotomically accurate styles of human representation evolved, leading to the classical art that the world is now familiar with, and contributing to Buddhist and Hindu sculpture throughout asia.
:See also Chinese art
Chinese artifacts date back as early as 10,000 BC -- and skilled,Chinese artisans have been active up to the present time -- but the bulk of what is displayed as sculpture in Euro-culture museums come from a few, select, historical periods. The first period of interest has been the Zhou Dynasty (1050-771 BC), from which come a variety of intricate cast bronze vessels. The next period of interest was the Han Dynasty ( 206 BC - 220 AD) -- beginning with the spectacular Terracotta army assembled for the tomb of the first emperor of the very brief Chin dynasty that preceded it. (Qin Shi Huang) in 210–209 BC.) Tombs excavated from the Han period have revealed many figures found to be vigorous, direct, and appealing 2000 years later.
The period now considered to be China's golden age is the Tang Dynasty. (coinciding with what in Europe is sometimes called "The Dark Ages". Decorative figures like those shown below became very popular in 20th Century Euro-American culture, and were made available in bulk as warlords in the Chinese civil wars exported them to raise cash. Considered especially desirable, and even profound, was the Buddhist sculpture, often monumental, begun in the Sui Dynasty, inspired by the Indian art of the Gupta period, and many are considered treasures of world art.
Following the Tang, Western interest in Chinese artifacts drops off dramatically, except for might be considered ornamental furnishings, and especially objects in jade. Pottery from many periods have been collected, and again the Tang period stands out apart for its free, easy feeling. Chinese sculpture has no nudes --other perhaps than figures made for medical training or practice -- and very little portraiture compared with the European tradition. One place where sculptural portraiture was pursued, however, was in the monasteries.
Almost nothing, other than jewelry, jade, or pottery is collected by art museums after the Ming Dynasty ended in the late 17th century -- and absolutely nothing has yet been recognized as sculpture from the tumultuous 20th century, although there was a school of Soviet-influenced social realist sculpture in the early decades of the Communist regime, and as the century turned, Chinese craftsmen began to dominate commercial sculpture genres (the collector plates, figurines, toys, etc) and avant garde Chinese artists began to participate in the Euro-American enterprise of contemporary art.
:See also Japanese art, Japanese sculpture
Countless paints and sculpture were made, often under governmental sponsorship. Most Japanese sculpture is associated with religion, and the medium's use declined with the lessening importance of traditional Buddhism. During the Kofun period of the third century, clay sculptures called haniwa were erected outside tombs. Inside the Kondo at Horyu-ji is a Shaka Trinity (623), the historical Buddha flanked by two bodhisattvas and also the Guardian Kings of the Four Directions
The wooden image ( 9th c.) of Shakyamuni, the "historic" Buddha, enshrined in a secondary building at the Muro-ji, is typical of the early Heian sculpture, with its ponderous body, covered by thick drapery folds carved in the hompa-shiki (rolling-wave) style, and its austere, withdrawn facial expression. The Kei school of sculptors, particularly Unkei, created a new, more realistic style of sculpture.
:See also African art
African art has an emphasis on Sculpture - African artists tend to favor three-dimensional artworks over two-dimensional works. The earliest known sculptures are from the Nok culture of Nigeria, made around 500 BC. Probably the most famously portayed are the "shrunken heads of enemies"!
:See also Art of ancient Egypt
The ancient art of Egyptian sculpture evolved to represent the ancient Egyptian gods, and Pharaohs, the divine kings and queens, in physical form. Very strict conventions were followed while crafting statues: male statues were darker than the female ones; in seated statues, hands were required to be placed on knees and specific rules governed appearance of every Egyptian god. Artistic works were ranked according to exact compliance with all the conventions, and the conventions were followed so strictly that over three thousand years, very little changed in the appearance of statutes.
See also: Sculpture of the United States
The history of sculpture in the United States reflects the country's 18th century foundation in Roman republican civic values as well as Protestant Christianity. American sculpture of the mid to late 19th century was often classical, often romantic, but showed a special bent for a dramatic, narrative, almost journalistic realism. Public buildings of the first half of the 20th century often provided an architectural setting for sculpture, especially in relief. In the 1950s traditional sculpture education would almost be completely replaced by a Bauhaus influenced concern for abstract design. Minimalist sculpture often replaced the figure in public settings. Modern sculptors use both classical and abstract inspired designs. Beginning in the 1980s there was a swing back towards figurative public sculpture and by the year 2000 many of the new public pieces in the United States were figurative in design.
'An overview of forms'
Some common forms of sculpture are:
*The bust, a representation of a person from the chest up.
*Equestrian sculpture, typically showing a significant person on horseback.
*Free-standing sculpture, sculpture that is surrounded on all sides, except the base, by space. it is also known as sculpture "in the round."
*Fountain, in which the sculpture is designed with moving water.
*"In the round": designed by the sculptor to be viewed from any angle.
*Mobile (See also Calder's Stabiles.)
*Relief: sculpture still attached to a background, standing out from that ground in "High Relief" or "Low Relief" (bas relief)
Perhaps the majority of public art is sculpture. See also sculpture garden.
:See also Sculpture of Ancient Greece
Features unique to the European Classical tradition:
#full figures: using the young, athletic male or full-bodied female nude
#portraits: showing signs of age and strong character
#use of classical costume and attributes of classical deities
#Concern for naturalism based on observation, often from live models.
Features that the European Classical tradition shares with many others:
#characters present an attitude of distance and inner contentment
#details do not disrupt a sense of rhythm between solid volumes and the spaces that surround them
#pieces feel solid and larger than they really are
#ambient space feels sacred or timeless
'The topic of Nudity'
A Nude or 'unadorned' figure in Greek classical sculpture was a reference to the status or role of the depicted person, deity or other being. Athletes, priestesses and gods could be identified by their adornment or lack of it.
The Renaissance preoccupation with Greek classical imagery, such as the 4th century B.C. Doryphoros of Polykleitos, led to nude figurative statues being seen as the 'perfect form' of representation for the human body.
Subsequently, nudity in sculpture and painting has represented a form of ideal, be it innocence, openness or purity. Nude sculptures are still common. As in painting, they are often made as exercises in efforts to understand the anatomical structure of the human body and develop skills that will provide a foundation for making clothed figurative work.
Nude statues are usually widely accepted by most societies, largely due to the length of tradition that supports this form. Occasionally, the nude form draws objections, often by fundamentalist moral or religious groups. Classic examples of this are the removal of penises from the Vatican collection of Greek sculpture and the addition of a fig leaf to a plaster cast of Michelangelo's sculpture of David for Queen Victoria's visit to the British Museum.
'The topic of social status'
Worldwide, sculptors are usually tradesmen whose work is unsigned. But in the Classical tradition, some sculptors began to receive individual recognition in Periclean Athens and more so in the Renaissance revival 2000 years later, culminating in the career of Michelangelo who entered the circle of princes. Sculpture was still a trade, but exceptional sculptors were recognized on a level with exceptional poets and painters. In the 19th century, sculpture also became a bourgeois/upper class avocation, as poetry and painting had been, and the classical work of women sculptors began to appear.
Gothic sculpture evolved from the early stiff and elongated style, still partly Romanesque, into a spatial and naturalistic feel in the late 12th and early 13th century. The architectural statues at the Western (Royal) Portal at Chartres Cathedral (ca. 1145) are the earliest Gothic sculptures and were a revolution in style and the model for a generation of sculptors. Prior to this there had been no sculpture tradition in Ile-de-France—so sculptors were brought in from Burgundy. The Bamberg Cathedral had the largest assemblage of 13th century sculpture. In England sculpture was more confined to tombs and non-figurine decorations. In Italy there was still a Classical influence, but Gothic made inroads in the sculptures of pulpits such as the Pisa Baptistery pulpit (1269) and the Siena pulpit. Dutch-Burgundian sculptor Claus Sluter and the taste for naturalism signaled the beginning of the end of Gothic sculpture, evolving into the classicistic Renaissance style by the end of the 15th century.
:See also Renaissance
Sculpture was also revived, in many cases before the other arts. There was a very obvious naturalism about contemporary sculpture, and highly true to life figures were being sculpted. One of the most important sculptors in the classical revival was Donatello. His greatest achievement of his classic period is the bronze David (not to be confused with Michelangelo's David), which is currently located at the Bargello in Florence. At the time of its creation, it was the first free-standing nude statue since ancient times. Conceived fully in the round and independent of any architectural surroundings, it was the first major work of Renaissance sculpture.
Among the many sculptures of Michelangelo are those of David and the Pietà, as well as the Doni Virgin, Bacchus, Moses, Rachel, Leah, and members of the Medici family. Michelangelo's David is possibly the most famous sculpture in the world, which was unveiled on September 8, 1504. It is an example of the contrapposto style of posing the human figure. Michelangelo's statue of David differs from previous representations of the subject in that David is depicted before his battle with Goliath and not after the giant's defeat. Instead of being shown victorious over a foe much larger than he, David looks tense and ready for combat.
Benvenuto Cellini created a salt cellar of gold and ebony in 1540 featuring Neptune and Amphitrite (earth and water) in elongated form and uncomfortable positions. It is considered a masterpiece of Mannerist sculpture.
In Baroque sculpture, groups of figures assumed new importance, and there was a dynamic movement and energy of human forms— they spiralled around an empty central vortex, or reached outwards into the surrounding space. For the first time, Baroque sculpture often had multiple ideal viewing angles. The characteristic Baroque sculpture added extra-sculptural elements, for example, concealed lighting, or water fountains. Bernini was undoubtedly the most important sculptor of the Baroque period. His first works were inspired by Hellenistic sculpture of ancient Greece and imperial Rome he could study in the new seat. One of his most famous works is Ecstasy of St Theresa
The sculpture examples they actually embraced were more likely to be Roman copies of Hellenistic sculptures. In sculpture, the most familiar representatives are the Italian Antonio Canova, the Englishman John Flaxman and the Dane Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Modern Classicism contrasted in many ways with the
classical sculpture of the 19th Century which was
was characterized by commitments to naturalism (Antoine-Louis Barye) -- the melodramatic (François Rude) sentimentality (Jean Baptiste Carpeaux)-- or a kind of stately grandiosity (Lord Leighton) Several different directions in the classical tradition were taken as the century turned, but the study of the live model and the post-Renaissance tradition was still fundamental to them.
Auguste Rodin was the most renowned European sculptor of the early 20th century. He might be considered as sui generis -- that is, if anyone successfully composed in his turbulent, virtuosic style, they have yet to be discovered. But he is often considered a sculptural Impressionist, like Medardo Rosso, Count Troubetski, and Rik Wouters, attempting to frame the charm of a fleeting moment of daily life.
Modern Classicism showed a lesser interest in naturalism and a greater interest in formal stylization. Greater attention was paid to the rhythms of volumes and spaces - as well as greater attention to the contrasting qualities of surface (open, closed, planar, broken etc) while less attention was paid to story-telling and convincing details of anatomy or costume. Greater attention was given to psychological realism than to physical realism. Greater attention was given to showing what was eternal and public, rather than what was momentary and private. Greater attention was given to examples of ancient and Medieval sacred arts:Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Meso-American. Grandiosity was still a concern, but in a broader, more world-wide context.
Early masters of modern classicism included: Aristide Maillol, Alexander Matveev, Joseph Bernard, Antoine Bourdelle, Georg Kolbe, Libero Andreotti, Gustav Vigeland, Jan Stursa
As the century progressed, modern classicism was adopted as the national style of the two great European totalitarian empires: Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, who co-opted the work of early masters, like Kolbe and Arno Breker in Germany, and Matveev in Russia. Nazi Germany had a 15-year run; but over the 70 years of the USSR, new generations of sculptors were trained and chosen within their system, and a distinct style, socialist realism, developed, that returned to the 19th century's emphasis on melodrama and naturalism.
In the rest of Europe, the modern classical became either more decorative/art deco (Paul Manship, Carl Milles) or more abstractly stylized (Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti,Julio González (sculptor)) or more expressive (and Gothic) (Anton Hanak, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Ernst Barlach, Arturo Martini) -- or turned more to the Renaissance (Giacomo Manzu, Venanzo Crocetti) or stayed the same (Charles Despiau, Marcel Gimond).
Classical training was rooted out of art education in Western Europe (and the Americas) by 1970 and the classical variants of the 20th Century were marginalized in the history of modernism. But classicism continued as the foundation of art education in the Soviet academies until 1990, providing a foundation for expressive figurative art throughout eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East.
By the year 2000, the European classical tradition maintains a wide appeal to viewers -especially tourists - and especially for the ancient, Renaissance, Baroque, and 19th century periods -- but awaits an educational tradition to revive its contemporary development.
Modernist movements included Cubism, Futurism, Minimalism, Installation art and Pop-Art.
Some modern sculpture forms are now practiced outdoors, and often in full view of spectators, thus giving them kinship to performance art in the eyes of some. Ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material. Popular in China, Japan, Canada, Sweden and Russia. Ice sculptures feature decoratively in some cuisines, especially in Asia. Kinetic sculptures are sculptures that are designed to move, which include Mobiles. Snow sculptures are usually carved out of a single block of snow about 6 to 15 feet on each side and weighing about 20 - 30 tons. The snow is densely packed into a form after having been produced by artificial means or collected from the ground after a snowfall. Sound sculptures take the form of indoor sound installations, outdoor installations such as aeolian harps, automatons, or be more or less near conventional musical instruments. Sound sculpture is often site-specific. A Sand castle can be regarded as a sand sculpture.
Other arts which can be regarded as sculptures include:
* glass blowing
Greenfield Products Pty Ltd v. Rover-Scott Bonnar Ltd
The Australian copyright case of Greenfield Products Pty Ltd v. Rover-Scott Bonnar Ltd (1990) 17 IPR 417 is authority for the proposition that for copyright or intellectual property rights purposes, a thing not intended to be a sculpture is not a sculpture.
In this case the judge stated:
:It appears to me clear that neither the moulds nor the drive mechanism, nor the parts of the latter, are sculptures in the ordinary sense. It is true, as was pointed out in the course of argument, that some modern sculptures consist of or include parts of machines, but that does not warrant the conclusion that all machines and parts thereof are properly called sculptures, and similar reasoning applies to moulds.
Though this seems contrary to some famous examples of sculpture, including Marcel Duchamp's 1917 sculpture consisting of a porcelain urinal lying on its back, titled Fountain, and Carl Andre's sculpture Equivalent III exhibited in the Tate Gallery in 1978, consisting of bricks stacked in a rectangle, this is not really the case since Duchamp and others were intending to produce works of art as opposed to the litigants in the lawsuit who were intending to produce riding lawn mowers.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sculpture".