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Bronze Sculpture

The technique used in the creation of bronze sculptures has changed very little since Antiquity. The sculptor begins by fashioning the subject in wax, then covers it with clay, pours on the bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, then breaks open the terracotta, leaving only the bronze object behind. Highly valued by sculptors, bronze is a robust and resistant material that fairs well outside. Using wax to create the initial mould allows for a high level of detail on the final sculpture, unlike steel sculpture. Certain nuances in colour can be produced through the use of patinas.

These qualities explain why bronze is one of the oldest materials to be used by humans. Indeed, bronze tools were used in Mesopotamia, Egypt and China in around 2,800 BC.

In Mesopotamia, near to present-day Iran, bronze was used to depict animals in sacred art. In Egypt, it was was used to personify the gods, and also to create small sculpture statues placed in the tombs of the deceased. However, it was Ancient Greece, where craftsmen began to sculpt human figures and deities with remarkable realism, that gave bronze its prominent place in the history of art. Many pieces of work were imported to Rome, where the production of bronze sculptures developed. Bronze sculptures soon began to decorate the theatres and the homes of the rich. Admiring the skills of the Greeks, the Romans began ordering sculptures from merchants and craftsmen, who made copies of the moulds of the statues.

With the birth of Christianity, evangelisation and the building of churches became the priorities, and bronze creations were replaced by stone sculptures for decorating churches. It was only in the 14th century that masterpieces were rediscovered during excavations of Italian archaeological sites. A century later, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti set the Renaissance in motion by decorating the doors of the Florence Baptistery in bronze. Donatello, inspired by ancient Roman sculpture, was the first to excel in the art of expressing emotions through bronze sculptures, followed by Verrocchio, his pupil (and master of Leonardo da Vinci). Although the practice spread throughout Europe, it was mainly focussed on Italy, where sculptors competed to obtain the most convincing results.

During the 16th century, the Flemish Jean de Bologne established himself as the undisputed master of bronze. He was the most copied artist in the 17th century, and it is partly due to him that the bronze sculpture spread across Europe. In Italy, production of bronze sculpture was fairly constant, irrespective of the period. In France, on the other hand, this technique depended on the political regime. When Louis XIV invited sculptors to his court (essentially to decorate Versailles) demand for bronze reappeared as a form of courtly art.

Bronze sculpture underwent a resurgence during the 19th century, with Rodin and Camille Claudel, and then with Cubism and the Art Deco movement. Bronze is an expensive, heavy material and costly for collectors to buy and its use has become less prevalent in the 20th and 21st centuries, but some artists use it nonetheless: Marc Quinn, Giuseppe Penone, Germaine Richier, Alberto Giacometti with his strange silhouettes, the animal bronzes of Brigitte Téman, the compressions of César Baldaccini, the Philippe Pasqua's butterflies and Olivier Messas's dancers or just still life sculpture can all be seen on Artsper !

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Sculptures

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Miguel Guía, Synthèse fille avec ballon rouge, Sculpture

Miguel Guía

Synthèse fille avec ballon rouge, 2021
35 x 6 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$826

Gediminas Endriekus, Witch Horse, Sculpture

Gediminas Endriekus

Witch Horse, 2018
16 x 7 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$2,632

Boureima Ouedraogo, Poulet bicyclette, Sculpture

Boureima Ouedraogo

Poulet bicyclette, 2021
35 x 18 x 24 cm
Sculpture

$479

Zacharie Kologo, Musicien errant, Sculpture

Zacharie Kologo

Musicien errant, 2021
79 x 32 x 18 cm
Sculpture

$778

Jorn Van Hoorn, Mr. Money Popper - bronze -diamond, Sculpture

Jorn Van Hoorn

Mr. Money Popper - bronze -diamond, 2021
38 x 22 x 31 cm
Sculpture

$5,384

Patrick Villas, Leopard II maquette, Sculpture

Patrick Villas

Leopard II maquette, 2021
28 x 60 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$11,965

Kuno Vollet, Love's Bond, Sculpture

Kuno Vollet

Love's Bond, 2020
85 x 18 x 18 cm
Sculpture

$5,971

Philippe Berry, Splash Violet, Sculpture

Philippe Berry

Splash Violet, 2006
60 x 70 x 5 cm
Sculpture

5,000 - $ 10,000

Petar Iliev, Muse, Sculpture

Petar Iliev

Muse, 2021
31 x 12 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$1,435

Isabelle Carabantes, Lièvre, Sculpture

Isabelle Carabantes

Lièvre, 2020
45.5 x 21.5 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$5,145

Maïté Martinez, Au pied de la lettre, Sculpture

Maïté Martinez

Au pied de la lettre, 2015
21 x 8.5 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$4,547

Arman, Panthère, Sculpture

Arman

Panthère, 2002
28 x 48 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$11,367

Our recommendations Salvador Dali, Profil du temps, Sculpture

Salvador Dali

Profil du temps, 1984
51 x 35 x 35 cm
Sculpture

$43,506

Our recommendations Jesus Campos, Les espaces de Penseur de Rodin, Sculpture

Jesus Campos

Les espaces de Penseur de Rodin, 2004
30 x 14 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$826

Marc Petit, Femme accroupie à l'étole, Sculpture

Marc Petit

Femme accroupie à l'étole, 2000
12 x 12.5 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$1,795

Bruno Roudil, Anthonin, Sculpture

Bruno Roudil

Anthonin, 2019
17 x 43 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$431

Martín Duque, Degas Danseur de Ballet, Sculpture

Martín Duque

Degas Danseur de Ballet, 2004
44 x 16 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$766

Nando Kallweit, Geeta II, Sculpture

Nando Kallweit

Geeta II, 2020
27 x 6 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$706

Julien Marinetti, Panda BA, Sculpture

Julien Marinetti

Panda BA, 2020
90 x 70 x 70 cm
Sculpture

$58,032

Mireia Serra, Tha catcher and the duck, Sculpture

Mireia Serra

Tha catcher and the duck, 2020
8 x 50 x 4.5 cm
Sculpture

$957

Gregos, Béatitude, Sculpture

Gregos

Béatitude, 2014
22 x 16 x 4 cm
Sculpture

$2,273

Artigas Planas, Bauhus, Sculpture

Artigas Planas

Bauhus, 2021
45 x 23 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$1,125

Linde Ergo, Daydream, Sculpture

Linde Ergo

Daydream, 2018
16 x 16 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,185

Robert Indiana, Hope, Sculpture

Robert Indiana

Hope, 2009
45.7 x 45.7 x 22.9 cm
Sculpture

$250,000

Sara Ingleby-Mackenzie, Tiger Tiger, Sculpture

Sara Ingleby-Mackenzie

Tiger Tiger, 2016
16 x 24 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$2,020

Our recommendations Jenny Jacottet, Impulsion, Sculpture

Jenny Jacottet

Impulsion, 2018
35 x 22 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$2,393

Stan Wysocki, Nude, Sculpture

Stan Wysocki

Nude, 2006
29 x 8 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$838

Teresa Riba, Tarda al sol IV, Sculpture

Teresa Riba

Tarda al sol IV, 2015
25 x 12 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$1,914

Philip Hearsey, First impression, Sculpture

Philip Hearsey

First impression, 2014
18 x 17 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$2,154

Laurelle Bessé, Arbre sur roche, Sculpture

Laurelle Bessé

Arbre sur roche, 2018
84 x 17 x 2 cm
Sculpture

$957

Deville-Chabrolle, Romantique, Sculpture

Deville-Chabrolle

Romantique, 2016
18 x 16 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$2,154

Pere Sala, Trapeci B III, Sculpture

Pere Sala

Trapeci B III, 2021
50 x 20 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$2,273

Jean-François Gambino, Paradis perdu (6/8), Sculpture

Jean-François Gambino

Paradis perdu (6/8), 2019
35 x 135 x 43 cm
Sculpture

$45,469

Etienne, Tendresse, Sculpture

Etienne

Tendresse, 2014
13 x 17 x 7.5 cm
Sculpture

$6,222

Salfo Dermé (Yabré), L'éléphant, Sculpture

Salfo Dermé (Yabré)

L'éléphant, 2019
21 x 11 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$1,077

Our recommendations Alex Katz, Maine Cow, Sculpture

Alex Katz

Maine Cow, 2007
124.5 x 184.2 x 26 cm
Sculpture

100,000 - $ 250,000

Luo Li Rong, Ligne de ton dos, Sculpture

Luo Li Rong

Ligne de ton dos, 2016
16 x 34 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$7,179

Claude Justamon, Cocon, Sculpture

Claude Justamon

Cocon, 2017
25 x 11 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$2,991

Maguy Banq, Conversation, Sculpture

Maguy Banq

Conversation, 2017
10 x 32 x 18.5 cm
Sculpture

$4,786

David Sprakes, From another world, Sculpture

David Sprakes

From another world, 2021
15 x 34 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$2,090

Halinka Jakubowska, Accès au Secret, Sculpture

Halinka Jakubowska

Accès au Secret, 2016
30 x 10 x 4 cm
Sculpture

$2,273

Robert Combas, Les favelas électriques, Sculpture

Robert Combas

Les favelas électriques, 2009
37 x 60 x 40 cm
Sculpture

$113,672

Quentin Garel, Masque de Lapin, Sculpture

Quentin Garel

Masque de Lapin, 2017
82 x 93 x 36 cm
Sculpture

$19,743

Babette Degraeve, Kleine pup met bot (Small puppy with bone), Sculpture

Babette Degraeve

Kleine pup met bot (Small puppy with bone), 2019
9 x 10 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$778

Evelyne Galinski, Naé, Sculpture

Evelyne Galinski

Naé, 2019
52 x 33 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$5,983

Ama Menec, Persecuted, Sculpture

Ama Menec

Persecuted, 2019
11 x 15 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$1,609

Véronique Clanet, Les Causeuses  --- Bronze - numéroté 1/8., Sculpture

Véronique Clanet

Les Causeuses --- Bronze - numéroté 1/8., 2009
27 x 40 x 26 cm
Sculpture

$7,538

Our recommendations Théo Tobiasse, Jérusalem de miel et de lait, Sculpture

Théo Tobiasse

Jérusalem de miel et de lait, 2002
62 x 51 x 1.5 cm
Sculpture

$13,162

Dominique Rayou, Peau de pêche, Sculpture

Dominique Rayou

Peau de pêche, 2017
18 x 20 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$4,068

Our recommendations Xu Zhen, New, Sculpture

Xu Zhen

New, 2016
46 x 14 x 10.5 cm
Sculpture

$6,437

Erte Tirtoff, Fire-Leaves, Sculpture

Erte Tirtoff

Fire-Leaves, 1989
48.3 x 24.1 x 25.4 cm
Sculpture

$7,950

Alexandre Mijatovic, Le Minus, Sculpture

Alexandre Mijatovic

Le Minus, 2017
26 x 10 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$1,556

Jean-Jacques Mancardi, Zone Interdite, Sculpture

Jean-Jacques Mancardi

Zone Interdite, 2021
48 x 35 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$4,308

Yoann Merienne, Mystère, Sculpture

Yoann Merienne

Mystère, 2019
10 x 5 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$1,077

Dirk De Keyzer, La tentatrice, Sculpture

Dirk De Keyzer

La tentatrice, 2019
67 x 20 x 26 cm
Sculpture

10,000 - $ 15,000

Yann Guillon, Sans titre - série danseuse, Sculpture

Yann Guillon

Sans titre - série danseuse, 2020
49 x 23 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$2,154

Ryszard Piotrowski, Nude, Sculpture

Ryszard Piotrowski

Nude, 2018
12.5 x 29 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$4,427

Javier de la Rosa, Dardo I green, Sculpture

Javier de la Rosa

Dardo I green, 2018
150 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$1,811

Michal Bajsarowicz, Torso, Sculpture

Michal Bajsarowicz

Torso, 2021
68 x 43 x 31 cm
Sculpture

$6,581

Mireille Bassier-Tilmont, Babel - bronze, Sculpture

Mireille Bassier-Tilmont

Babel - bronze, 2018
21 x 10 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$419

Our recommendations Thierry Dehais, Le silence, Sculpture

Thierry Dehais

Le silence, 2007
22 x 10 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$778

Donald Laborie, Le Guitariste, Sculpture

Donald Laborie

Le Guitariste, 2018
54 x 31 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$2,154

Jean-Louis Toutain, L'ours, Sculpture

Jean-Louis Toutain

L'ours, 1997
27 x 54 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$12,564

Guillaume Couffignal, Grande Cage, Sculpture

Guillaume Couffignal

Grande Cage, 2020
53 x 18 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$1,914

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