Ancient Sculpting: Classical Techniques And Materials Used By Artists

Ancient Sculpting: Classical Techniques And Materials Used By Artists


Ancient Sculpting Techniques And Materials Used In Making Them

The art of the sculpture is visual medium that works in three dimensions. It is one of the art forms that has existed for centuries. It is generally made of stone or modeling. The stone carving process is carving out the stone for getting the desired shape whereas modeling is done using clay. Ceramic, metal, and wood are also used to create them. In modern times, many other materials are used with several processes such as carving, welding, molding, modeling, and the like. From ancient cultures, a majority of sculptures are made from stone as these survive far better than other materials.

Ancient Sculpting Techniques And Materials Used In Making Them
Ancient Sculpting: Classical Techniques And Materials Used By Artists

Types Of Sculpture

The most common types of sculptures are round, relief and free-standing sculptures. Relief is often classified based on the degree of projection from the base surface. There are various types of relief such as base relief, high relief, and mid relief. Another important types can be classified based on the process of subtractive carving which is used for stone sculptures. This process involves removing excess material and refining the statue.

Purposes 

The main purpose behind the carving of many sculptures is religious belief. Ancient sculptors made statues of deities for worship them and pass to their culture to the next generation. Ancient Greek statues are more famous. The same follows in Hinduism that involves idol worship. Today, most of sculptures are art works to enhance properties and decor. Small decorative figurines made of ceramics are most common and are usually found in homes.

Sculpting Techniques

Different techniques used are based on the material. The most common materials used for making sculptures are stone, metals such as bronze, wood and other durable materials. Precious materials such as gold, silver and ivory are also used to make small works of art as these materials are expensive and rarely used on big ones and then only as highlights. More common and less expensive materials used are hard wood, cast iron, terracotta, and wax. They are painted with techniques and materials such as oil, tempera, gilding, house paint, aerosol, and enamels. Some modern sculptors use unusual materials such as ice, painted steel, bicycle parts, tools, machine parts, stained glass, and hardware.

Metals Used

Bronze and copper alloys are the most used metals for making statues. Bronze alloys have the unique property of expanding before they set. Thus, bronze fills the finer spaces of a mold and its strength and non-brittle feature add up to create the finest statues. When compared to ceramic or stone, bronze sculptures are less brittle. Other techniques used are casting and welding.

Ancient Sculpting Techniques And Materials Used In Making Them
Ancient Sculpting: Classical Techniques And Materials Used By Artists

Casting is the most preferred method for making complex structures that are impossible to achieve using any other technique. The most common method used for creating steel structures is oxy-fuel welding. It is an effective method to make clean and less noticeable joints with steel.

Glass Sculpture

Molten glass is easy to mold into any shape. Glass can also be blown and hot sculpted with hand tools for making unique and cozy decorative items for the home.

Conservation

Stone sculptures are hard to conserve because they are prone to breakage under changing climatic conditions or low maintenance. Although preventing environmental changes is not possible, human intervention to prevent damage and conserve these sculptures.

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