Sculpture  ----notes-------------------------------------------------------



Sculpture confronts us with the third dimension, with the concept of depth.

Modeling – generally associate with clay, but wax and plaster are also common. Since these materials are pliable the sculptor can build up the form, gouge away sections, pinch it forward, scratch into it with a sharp tool, smooth it with the hands, etc.

Assembling – a process by which individual pieces or segments or objects are brought together to form a sculpture.

Casting –a mold is made, into which molten metal, specifically bronze, is poured and allowed to harden.  Bronze is superheated until it flows, and will pour freely into the tiniest crevices and forms and then hardens to extreme durability. There is no fear of fingers and projections from the sculpture to break off with bronze sculptures.

Carving – a subtractive process,  more direct than casting, sculptors begin with a block of material and cuts, chips, and gouges away until the form of the sculpture emerges. Usually uses wood and stone.

Direct casting – the object to be casted, such as a leaf, is fitted with wax rods and encased  in plaster. Molten metal is poured in, the heat vaporizes the leaf, replacing it with a bronze replica.

Relief – relief sculptures have 3 –dimentional depth, but they do not occupy space as independently as sculptures in the round.

Low relief (bas relief) – coins are examples of low relief

High relief (haut relief) – projects by at least half its depth from a background

Terra cotta – clay that has been fired to make it hard

Mobile – a sculpture that incorporates motion.

Contrapposto – used to describe sculptures in which the figure is portrayed in a natural, relaxed, S-curve suggestive of motion.

Environmental sculptures:

  1. sculptures you can walk into and thru
  2. sculptures displayed outdoors
  3. sculptures that are part of the natural landscape

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Projects such as the running fence and Wrapped Reichstag live on afterwards in preparatory sketches, photographs, books, and film. Their art is not just the end result, but the entire process from planning through dismantling, including the way it energizes people and creates relationships.

Jeff Koon s’ sculpture explores issues of taste. It challenges people notion of what is   traditionally expected as “high art” and  look down on sentimental paintings such as big eye dogs on velvet, or porcelain figurines of adorable animals in pastel colors. Like Christo, Koons challenges the notion permanence of  sculptures.



Pre-ColumbianPot, Warrior form(Clay), 300 B.C.-A.D.700

Clodion, Satyr & Bacchante, terracotta, 1775

Greece, Anon. Poseidon or Zeus, bronze, 460-450 B.C.

Louise Bourgeois, Nature Study, 1984

Auguste Rodin, The Bronze Age, 1875-77

Nancy Graves, Wheeler, 1985

Mali, Ancestor Figures,

Giza. IV Dynasty, Mycerinus with Queen Khamerenebty, 2525 B.C.

Polyclitus, Spear Bearer, 440 B.C.

Roman copy of Greek original, Aphrodite, 300 B.C.

Michelangelo, The Dying Slave, 1513-1516

Michelangelo, David, 1504

Michelangelo, Pieta, 1498-1499

Deborah Butterfield, Vermillion, 1989

Louise Nevelson, Mrs. N.’s Palace, 1964-77

Louise Nevelson, Black Cord, 1964

David Smith, Becca, 1965

David Smith, Becca, 1964

Joseph Cornell, Glass Box and Sand Drawer, 1950

Joseph Cornell, A Pantry Ballet, 1942

Joseph Cornell, Untitled, 1940

Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1976

Alexander Calder, Lobster Trap and Fish Tail, 1939

Alexander Calder, Iguana, 1950-60

Ancient Near East, Killing Lions, 850 BC

Lorenzo Ghiberti, East Doors, “Gates of Paradis”, 1425-52

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Seated Figures, 1974-79

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Backs, 1976-82

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Infantes, 1992

Henry Moore, Recumbent, 1938

Henry Moore, Reclining Mother and Child, 1960

Henry Moore, Reclining Mother and Child, 1975-76

Henry Moore, Reclining Large Interior Form, 1981

Constantin Brancusi, The Kiss, 1910

Red Grooms, Philadelphia Cornucopia, 1982

Claes Oldenburg, Clothespin, 1976

Richard Serra, Tilted Arc, 1982

Jeff  Koons, Puppy, 1992

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Valley Curtain, 1970-72

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Running Fence, 1972-76