Sitting Pretty

About the art of sculpturing

Sculpturing is the branch of visual arts which deals with three-dimensional artworks. The durable sculpturing processes involve modelling techniques (by addition of materials like clay) and carving (involving removal of materials) on wood, ceramics, metal, stone and other types of materials. However, since the advent of modern era, shifts have come in the sculptural processes leading to complete freedom regarding the usage of processes and materials. You can work on all sorts of materials through removal techniques like carving and assembly techniques like modelling or welding (involving casts or molds).

Sculptures created in stone have a much longer life compared to the art works created with perishable materials. It is the exact reason why a large majority of surviving sculptures from the past are from the ancient cultures and times when stone used to be the main sculpturing medium.

Sculptures have been at the center of religious devotion in various cultures. Until the past few centuries, highly expensive and large sculptures used to only belong to the private domains where people would create them as an expression of their political or religious beliefs. The cultures whose sculptures were able to survive the onslaught of time mainly belong to the regions like China, India, ancient Mediterranean and some civilizations belonging to the Africa and South America regions.

The art of sculpturing became an integral part of the Western tradition in the ancient Greece. Greece has been long known to be a major source of amazing masterpieces during the classical period. As the world moved towards the middle ages, the art of Gothic sculptures came into being as a representation of the passions and agonies related to Christian faith. The classical sculpture models got revived during the Renaissance period, resulting in creation of masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David. As the field of art gradually move towards the modern era, the sculptures also progressed from the conventional processes, and their immense emphasis on the depiction of human body.

The materials employed in sculpturing are pretty diverse and have been changing throughout the history. The outstandingly durable materials are the classic ones like metals (especially bronze) and stones, whereas antler, bone and wood are counted amongst the cheaper and less durable options. Precious sculpturing materials like ivory, jade, silver and gold have often been used in the past for creation of small luxury works, and occasionally even the larger ones like chryselephantine statues.

Sculptures are usually painted, but are known to lose their paint over a period of time. History has seen all sorts of painting techniques evolving and getting used in the field of sculpturing, including sandblasting, oil painting, aerosol, tempera, house paint, enamel and gilding. Some of the notable sculpture artists of the past are Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Andy Goldsworthy and more.