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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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price,500 facet,10503*Oeuvres d’artistes best sellers|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Werke von Bestseller-Künstlern|icon-bestsellers*werke-von-kunstlern-bestseller facet,10503*Artworks by best-selling artists|icon-bestsellers*bestsellers facet,10503*Obras de los artistas más vendidos|icon-bestsellers*obras-de-los-artistas-mas-vendidos price,1001:5000 price,501:1000 facet,10500*Oeuvres d'artistes émergents|icon-youngtalents*jeunes-talents facet,10500*Werke aufstrebender Künstler|icon-youngtalents*werke-von-jungen-kunstlern facet,10500*Young Talents|icon-youngtalents*youngtalents facet,10500*Obras de artistas emergentes|icon-youngtalents*obras-de-artistas-emergentes category,6*Peinture*peinture category,6*Painting*painting category,6*Gemälde*gemalde category,6*Pintura*pintura facet,8259*Nos recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*unsere Empfehlungen|icon-recommendations*unsere-empfehlungen facet,8259*Our recommendations|icon-recommendations*recommendations facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*moyen facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*grand facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Retrato*retrato category,5*Sculpture*sculpture category,5*Skulptur*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografie*fotografie category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos price,1000:501 facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*tres-grand category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Print*print category,15*Druck*editionen category,15*Edición*edicion category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Zeichnung*zeichnung category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Etchleben*etchleben facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Tier*tier facet,1680*Animales*animales facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1668*Blanco y negro*blanco-y-negro facet,1632*Architecture*architecture facet,1632*Die Architektur*die-architektur facet,1632*Arquitectura*arquitectura facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*very-large facet,8280*Very large (\u003e 80 x 80 inch)|very-large*very-large price,50001 price,5001:10000 facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,1650*Paysage urbain*paysage-urbain facet,1650*Urban Landscape*urban-landscape facet,1650*Städtische Landschaft*stadtische-landschaft facet,1650*Paisaje urbano*paisaje-urbano facet,1692*Géométrique*geometrique facet,1692*Geometric*geometric facet,1692*Geometrisch*geometrisch facet,1692*Geometría*geometria facet,1656*Grafik*grafik facet,1656*Graphique*graphique facet,1656*Graphic*graphic facet,1656*Gráfico*grafico facet,11634*Pop culture Street-artistes*pop-culture-street-artistes facet,11634*Pop Culture Street Artists*pop-culture-street-artists facet,11634*Popkultur Straßenkünstler*popkultur-strassenkunstler facet,11634*Cultura pop Street-artistas*cultura-pop-street-artistas facet,12*noir|050002*noir facet,12*Black|050002*black facet,12*schwarz|050002*schwarz facet,12*negro|050002*negro facet,1833*Carré|square*orientation-carre facet,1833*Square|square*orientation-square facet,1833*Quadrat|square*orientation-platz facet,1833*Cuadrado|square*orientation-cuadrado price,5000:1001 facet,30*Dark blue|0707BD*dark-blue facet,30*bleu foncé|0707BD*bleu-fonce facet,30*Dunkelblau|0707BD*dunkelblau facet,30*azul oscuro|0707BD*azul-oscuro
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