The Story Of Sculpture

The Story Of Sculpture

Presented by Sasha Dee

A Christmas Lecture by Daniel Baharier

At the Cooltan Arts Centre, South London

5.00 P.M. 18 December 2009

Daniel Baharier, an Israeli Sculptor visited London and spent a few weeks visiting the premises and looking at the various artworks produced by the participants of the famous Cooltan Arts Centre. As he was visitor to London some wanted to take the opportunity of his expertise on the art of sculpture and suggested if he could talk about the story of the Sculpture. He accepted the proposal and gave an erudite and interesting lecture with questions and answers towards the end of his talk.

He also showed the various photographs of his great work in sculptures. Here we present a collage of the photographs of some his sculpted work and the gist of his talk


Perhaps the early man started making sculptures from his necessity of making tools for his hunting and later cultivating grain and early woman joined him by using bones not just for various tools but also for making jewellery and other utensils etc. The evidence for this is found in many excavations of the early man’s tomb and other places like fossils and frozen in the ice etc.

Man’s fondness for sculpture has been a great preoccupation everywhere early man existed all around the planet earth.  There are sculptures in the primitive tribes of Australia, China, India Africa Europe Iceland, North and South America, Hawaii and Easter islands etc.

As the civilizations developed in various parts of the earth the sculptures were found and excavators are still finding them. The finding of these rare artworks creates sensation and excitement among not just the lovers of art but also in the common people.  These finding give us information about man and also about the cultures of those countries where these objects are found and dispel prejudice about those cultures.

The astonishing finding of the terracotta soldiers in china and Ife figures and tools in the Western Nigeria amazed all historians and art lovers.

So the story of sculpture has come a long way from the early man to our time and man is still putting new ideas into sculpture.

Egypt, Greece,India, Rome and Western Europe developed sculpture into a fine art.  In figurative sculpture they achieved likeness from symbolic art to naturalism and back to symbolism. Both classical Greek and Roman art went so far that they created sculptures so refined and with elements of naturalness, that often became idealistic but not real.  The Roman statue of David often was so refined and beautiful to make it the sculptor used unrealistic proportions to do so.  Often this truth is ignored or not seen by the onlookers.  Similarly the Greek nude statues of the goddesses and other common women too were unrealistic but they were refined and full of naturalness.

So later artist of post-classical period had to reinvent their art to create new art.   The modern artists like Picasso and other artists created art that differed saliently from the classical art.

The twentieth century saw sculpture entirely in different perspective.  The Second World War uprooted the old values for the living.  Artists like Henry Moor created giant artwork that only could be exhibited in the parks or huge empty spaces. From this Anish Kapoor created art so huge that people only could experience by moving around under or through the art.

Artists started discovering new material new ideas and new spaces to create their artwork.

Following is the understanding of the art of sculpture:.

Sculpture is three dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials, typically stone such as marble,  metal, glass, or wood, or plastic materials such as clay, textiles, polymer and softer metals. The term has been extended to works including sound, text and light

Found objects may be presented as sculptures. Materials may be worked by removal such as carvings; or they may be assembled such as by welding hardened such as by firing, moulded or carved Surface decoration such as paint may be applied. Sculpture   has been described as one of the plastic arts because it can involve the use of material that can be moulded or modulated.

Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting may be referred to as a sculpture garden.

Types of Sculptures:

v     Free-standing sculpture, sculpture that is surrounded on all sides, except the base, by space. It is also known as sculpture “in the round”, and is meant to be viewed from any angle.

v     Sound Sculpture

v     Light Sculpture

v     Jewellry

v     Relief: the sculpture is still attached to a background; types are bas-relief, a lot relivo, and sunken-relief

v     Site-specific

v     Kinetic Sculpture- involves aspects of physical motion

  • Fountain- the sculpture is designed with moving water
  • Mobile

v     Statue- representional sculpture depicting a specific entity usually a personevent, animal or an object.

  • Bust- representation of a person from the chest up
  • Equestrian statue typically showing a significant person on horseback

v     Stacked art – a form of sculpture formed by assembling objects and ‘stacking’ them

v     Architectural sculpture

v     Enviornmental Art

  • Land Art

Material for the Sculpture:

Sculptors have generally sought to produce works of art that are as permanent as possible, working in durable and frequently expensive materials such as bronze and stone: marble, limestone, prphyry and granite. More rarely, precious materials such as gold, silver jade,and ivory were used for chryselephantine works. More common and less expensive materials were used for sculpture for wider consumption, including glass, hardwood (such as oak, boxwood and lime, terracotta and other ceramics and cast metals such as pewter and zink (spelter).

Sculptures are often painted, but commonly lose their paint to time, or restorers. Many different painting techniques have been used in making sculpture, including tempera [oil painting], gilding, house paint, aerosol, enamel and sandblasting.

Many sculptors seek new ways and materials to make art. Stained glass and automobile parts, tools, machine parts, and hardware. One of Picasso’s most famous sculptures included bycycle parts. Alexander Clader and other modernists made spectacular use of painted steel. Since the 1960s, acrylics and other plastics have been used as well..

Sculptors often build small preliminary works called maquetts of ephemeral materials such as plaster of paris, wax, clay, or plasticine, as Alfred Gilbert did for ‘Eros’ at Piccadilly Circus, London. Sculptors sometimes use found objects.

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