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A sculpture is a three-dimensional form created as an artistic expression. Sculptures are often figurative art, but can also be abstract works. Human and animal figures are frequent subjects of sculpture.

An artist who makes sculptures is called a sculptor.

Materials and techniques

A sculpture can be any size from miniature to bigger-than-life, and made from any material. Popular materials include:

  • Stone (e.g. marble, sandstone, ...)
  • Metal (e.g. bronze, silver, tin)
  • Terracotta
  • Plaster

Sculpture can be either in the round (to be viewed from all sides) or in bas relief (low relief in which figures protrude slightly from the background).

A sculpture can be made in all kinds of techniques. The most important are:

working a modeling medium by means of a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet,
the addition of material, such as clay
a group of manufacturing processes by which a liquid material (bronze, copper, glass, aluminum, iron) is (usually) poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify. The solid casting is then ejected or broken out to complete the process,[7] although a final stage of "cold work" may follow on the finished cast. Casting may be used to form hot liquid metals or various materials that cold set after mixing of components (such as epoxies, concrete, plaster and clay). Casting is most often used for making complex shapes that would be otherwise difficult or uneconomical to make by other methods.
consists of making three-dimensional or two-dimensional artistic compositions by putting together found objects.

With stone-like materials, sculptures are made by taking away pieces of the material. With other materials such as terracotta, the artist can build up a sculpture in an additive, rather than subtractive process. Metal sculptures are usually cast using a complicated technique that begins with making a wax sculpture which will be destroyed in the casting process. In assemblage, solid pieces are joined to build the sculpture.

Sculpture vs. painting

In the history of art, there have been long debates which art form was "superior" or "higher", sculpture or painting. Those who argued for painting pointed out the additional skills required by painters, such as the mastery of color, light and shadow, perspective and the optical properties of the various materials and surfaces, which play little or no role for sculptors. The opponents argued that a sculptor needs to plan, design and shape his figures from all sides in true 3D, which is more than just showing one specific point of view, a two-dimensional projection, as in painting.

See also

More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Sculpture ]


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