Sculpture is considered fine art as well as craft. Good sculpture shows texture and invites you to touch it. Its form includes line, shape, texture, colour plus material, technique and function. Subject and material (content) defines its context.
Flowing: use of open grain.
Mystery: use of hard dark stone.
Compare the different content and context of the two sculptures called THE KISS – by Rodin, and by Brancusi.
THE KISS by Rodin.
THE KISS Series – by Brancusi
Sculpture materials have different personalities, e.g. different grains in timbers, veins in marble, textures in stones. The artist is selective, choosing horizontal grain for relaxed mood. Also the treatment of the material by the artist affects the content of the completed work. Sculpture may be decorative, functional, or architectural. Greek temples were sculptural – all views were beautiful, while Roman buildings were in relief – only seen from the front.
Hand-held Goddesses (fertility) were the first sculptures in many countries, until they were replaced by the menhirs (phallic) when it became obvious that women were made pregnant by men. Steles (columns) were used to depict religious events and people (both mythical and actual).
FOUR RIVERS FOUNTAIN – Berlini; Bronze statues – Michaelangelo
The Greeks gave us Godlike, flawless statues of men, while the Romans’ statues were realistic – warts and all. Michaelangelo used forms spiritually, usually figures and often with animals as supports. Bernini’s fountains were also works of art. They were cast in metal, carved in wood or stone, and modelled in clay.
Modern sculpture uses the same techniques, but goes much further – we nail, glue, sew, screw, and saw, either figuratively or in abstract form. We also use motorization, and water. Sculpture is in relief (high and low), and free-standing (open or closed).
Piatt – wire & bronze; Mid-Century II – Alicia Dunn; Wishful Thinking – Wood
RELIEF: is carved out from its surround – the relationship of the figure carved and the ground dictates whether it is high or low relief. It is 2D art – the figure is viewed only from the front – not the sides and back, but includes depth because material is removed in its creation.
The Third Dimension of Depth is included:
Intaglio: line incised into stone.
Bas Relief: low relief, e.g. a coin, in which the design barely protrudes from its background.
High Relief: this casts a shadow – the sculpture protrudes to a great degree, and may be undercut.
Bas Relief; Intaglio; High Relief
FREE-STANDING: Sculpture in the round, which can be seen from all sides. It is the sum of all its viewing angles. It need not stand, e.g. a tiki hanging around a neck is a free-standing sculpture. It can be as small as an amulet, or as large as a mountain; open or closed in form. If the viewer feels it’s complete, then it may be considered closed. If it’s compact, then it’s closed. If the interest is all contained within the work, then it’s closed. If the sculpture interacts with the space around it, e.g. arms and legs akimbo, ready to throw, then it’s considered open – Hellenic Greeks showed weight shift in their creations poses. Mobiles, lines leading out, and interest beyond the work would be open. But a void in a sculpture is no necessarily open – the void might be part of the mass, which would make it closed. Symmetry is usually closed – asymmetry is usually open.
Ivory – John-Richard; Samsara – Gill Brown; Recumbent Figure – Henry Moore
Additional: includes modelling, adding lumps of clay together, putting things togther by any means, e.g. Picasso’s Bull made from a bike seat and handle bars.
Subtractional: by carving away superfluous material to expose the sculpture withing, in wood, stone, marble, or wax.
Substitutional: the perishable material of original sculpture is replaced by more durable material, e.g. balloon by paper in papier mache, and casting of bronze. To cast Bronze, a wax model is packed in clay or plaster, remove-by-melting the wax, pour in molten bronze till set.
A Votive Statue (also candles) replace s the person in a place of prayer – it has the person’s name on it.
Jud House 2/09/2016
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