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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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Philippe Buil, Sortir du bois, Sculpture

Philippe Buil

Sortir du bois, 2021
38 x 17 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$1,917

Christophe Charbonnel, Dryade II, Sculpture

Christophe Charbonnel

Dryade II, 2021
51 x 48 x 48 cm
Sculpture

$22,258

Patrick Villas, Petit Léopard sur le rocher, Sculpture

Patrick Villas

Petit Léopard sur le rocher, 2017
29 x 23 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$5,565

Marc Petit, Le crucifié, Sculpture

Marc Petit

Le crucifié, 2004
107 x 60 x 24 cm
Sculpture

$11,129

Eric Liot, Athéna, Sculpture

Eric Liot

Athéna, 2020
99 x 48 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$21,022

Chantal de Block, Marie Clara, Sculpture

Chantal de Block

Marie Clara, 2019
67 x 30 x 30 cm
Sculpture

< $ 2,500

Rietje Geurts, Verleiding (Temptation), Sculpture

Rietje Geurts

Verleiding (Temptation), 2019
44 x 12 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$4,884

Brice Gelot, Message in the bottle, Sculpture

Brice Gelot

Message in the bottle, 2021
25 x 33 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$21,600

Arman, Dos de Valentine, Sculpture

Arman

Dos de Valentine, 1993
51 x 23.5 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$10,511

Milko Dobrev, Phoenix, Sculpture

Milko Dobrev

Phoenix, 2021
30 x 8 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$1,212

Sébastien Langloÿs, La Valse, Sculpture

Sébastien Langloÿs

La Valse, 2013
26 x 16 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$6,183

Yves Pires, Eva, Sculpture

Yves Pires

Eva, 2016
55 x 47 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$9,645

Our recommendations Salvador Dali, Profil du temps, Sculpture

Salvador Dali

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

$44,961

Anke Birnie, Walking in the Forest, Sculpture

Anke Birnie

Walking in the Forest, 2021
54 x 15 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$4,176

Aramis Justiz, Tramontana, Sculpture

Aramis Justiz

Tramontana, 2014
54 x 60 x 42 cm
Sculpture

$4,019

Marc Sparza, Colore la vie, Sculpture

Marc Sparza

Colore la vie, 2021
27 x 43 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$853

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

$853

Philippe Pasqua, Vanité, Sculpture

Philippe Pasqua

Vanité, 2015
37 x 20 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$22,505

Star York, Mare of the Renaissance, AP1/35, Sculpture

Star York

Mare of the Renaissance, AP1/35, 2012
61 x 54.6 x 30.5 cm
Sculpture

$10,882

Philippe Valensi, Météorite bronze alpha, Sculpture

Philippe Valensi

Météorite bronze alpha, 2019
40 x 44 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$3,215

William Sweetlove, Cloned Bulldog with pet bottle, Sculpture

William Sweetlove

Cloned Bulldog with pet bottle, 2011
47 x 50 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$8,038

Yoann Merienne, Libeccio, Sculpture

Yoann Merienne

Libeccio, 2020
77.5 x 46 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$19,785

Pierre Gimenez, Etirements, Sculpture

Pierre Gimenez

Etirements, 2021
30 x 25 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$2,226

Martín Duque, Degas Danseur de Ballet, Sculpture

Martín Duque

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

$791

César Baldaccini, Coeur éclaté, Sculpture

César Baldaccini

Coeur éclaté, 1986
54 x 14 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$6,183

Bruno Roudil, Anthonin, Sculpture

Bruno Roudil

Anthonin, 2019
17 x 43 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$396

Linde Ergo, Daydream, Sculpture

Linde Ergo

Daydream, 2018
16 x 16 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,224

Igor Mitoraj, Eclipse 2, Sculpture

Igor Mitoraj

Eclipse 2, 1978
20 x 32 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$43,280

Artigas Planas, The thinker, Sculpture

Artigas Planas

The thinker, 2017
138 x 23 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$3,091

Etienne, Galet, Sculpture

Etienne

Galet, 2010
20 x 18 x 7 cm
Sculpture

$8,161

Charlotte Champion, Perruchette, Sculpture

Charlotte Champion

Perruchette, 2019
26.5 x 13 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$3,586

Philippe Berry, Ballons de foire - jaune, bleu, rose, Sculpture

Philippe Berry

Ballons de foire - jaune, bleu, rose, 2018
42 x 16 x 19 cm
Sculpture

10,000 - $ 15,000

Chloé Sontrop, Liberté, Sculpture

Chloé Sontrop

Liberté, 2017
45 x 27 x 24.5 cm
Sculpture

$4,081

Julien Marinetti, Teddy Popi, Sculpture

Julien Marinetti

Teddy Popi, 2015
40 x 27 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$15,828

Isabelle Jeandot, Mémoires, Sculpture

Isabelle Jeandot

Mémoires, 2020
46 x 28 x 18 cm
Sculpture

$13,602

Philip Hearsey, First impression, Sculpture

Philip Hearsey

First impression, 2014
18 x 17 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$2,226

Bruno Mallart, Au pied de la lettre, Sculpture

Bruno Mallart

Au pied de la lettre, 2018
43 x 27 x 7 cm
Sculpture

$4,328

Luo Li Rong, Ligne de ton dos, Sculpture

Luo Li Rong

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

$7,419

Our recommendations Xu Zhen, New, Sculpture

Xu Zhen

New, 2016
46 x 14 x 10.5 cm
Sculpture

$6,653

Jean-Michel Pradel-Fraysse, Amour, Sculpture

Jean-Michel Pradel-Fraysse

Amour, 2020
44 x 72 x 26 cm
Sculpture

$14,839

Mario Dilitz, 185, Sculpture

Mario Dilitz

185, 2020
90 x 35 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$24,113

Adeline Weber Guibal, Danseuse, Sculpture

Adeline Weber Guibal

Danseuse, 2021
18 x 11 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,101

Romain Langlois, Attraction de l'espace II, Sculpture

Romain Langlois

Attraction de l'espace II, 2018
50 x 63 x 45 cm
Sculpture

25,000 - $ 50,000

Maguy Banq, Sur la berge, Sculpture

Maguy Banq

Sur la berge, 2020
60 x 49 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$6,801

Gediminas Endriekus, Passers-by, Sculpture

Gediminas Endriekus

Passers-by, 2020
34 x 13 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$10,511

Eléonore de Moffarts, Huntress, Sculpture

Eléonore de Moffarts

Huntress, 2018
48 x 65 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$8,594

Our recommendations Jenny Jacottet, Égarement, Sculpture

Jenny Jacottet

Égarement, 2018
47 x 20 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$3,462

Yann-Eric Eichenberger, Aneta, Sculpture

Yann-Eric Eichenberger

Aneta, 2017
210 x 40 x 40 cm
Sculpture

$45,753

Sandro Chia, Youth and the Devil, Sculpture

Sandro Chia

Youth and the Devil, 1993
33.5 x 29 x 34 cm
Sculpture

$5,935

Roberto Matta, Bag with Wings, Sculpture

Roberto Matta

Bag with Wings, 1971
94 x 137 x 64 cm
Sculpture

$35,860

Merry Kerpitchian (Merry K), Le bal est fini, Sculpture

Merry Kerpitchian (Merry K)

Le bal est fini, 2017
52 x 24 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$7,172

Mireia Serra, Merry love, Sculpture

Mireia Serra

Merry love, 2020
7 x 17 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$1,212

Stefano Bombardieri, Struzzo Rubik, Sculpture

Stefano Bombardieri

Struzzo Rubik, 2016
58 x 40 x 21 cm
Sculpture

$29,677

Pierre-Jean Chabert, Tête de gorille, Sculpture

Pierre-Jean Chabert

Tête de gorille, 2019
34 x 23 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$6,430

Véronique Clanet, Lily - Rose, Sculpture

Véronique Clanet

Lily - Rose, 2019
171 x 75 x 68 cm
Sculpture

$30,914

Dirk De Keyzer, Hariette, Sculpture

Dirk De Keyzer

Hariette, 2016
84 x 20 x 30 cm
Sculpture

10,000 - $ 15,000

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

$13,602

Evelyne Galinski, Naé, Sculpture

Evelyne Galinski

Naé, 2019
52 x 33 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$6,183

Marie-Noëlle Ronayette, Les chaussures de maman, Sculpture

Marie-Noëlle Ronayette

Les chaussures de maman, 2019
76 x 30 x 30 cm
Sculpture

10,000 - $ 15,000

Gilles Nicolas, Le Rhinocéros courant, Sculpture

Gilles Nicolas

Le Rhinocéros courant, 2017
16 x 43 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$12,366

Claude Justamon, Cocon, Sculpture

Claude Justamon

Cocon, 2017
25 x 11 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$3,091

Quentin Garel, Petit crâne d'oiseau, Sculpture

Quentin Garel

Petit crâne d'oiseau, 2011
25 x 26 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$5,194

Chantal de Sutter, Marie, Sculpture

Chantal de Sutter

Marie, 2020
168 x 36 x 41 cm
Sculpture

15,000 - $ 25,000

Alain Boullet, Couple, Sculpture

Alain Boullet

Couple, 2005
32 x 11 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$5,565

60 Artworks on 3739

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