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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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Salvador Dali, Christ de Saint-Jean de la Croix, Sculpture

Salvador Dali

Christ de Saint-Jean de la Croix, 1974
60 x 26 x 18 cm
Sculpture

$27,099

Pierre Gimenez, La main au cigare, Sculpture

Pierre Gimenez

La main au cigare, 2021
35 x 24 x 10.5 cm
Sculpture

$2,885

Philippe Buil, Cheval Barbe 49-21, Sculpture

Philippe Buil

Cheval Barbe 49-21, 2021
33 x 27 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$1,694

Patrick Villas, Le cygne, Sculpture

Patrick Villas

Le cygne, 2021
100 x 110 x 100 cm
Sculpture

$47,673

Philippe Berry, Hippo et Papillons, Sculpture

Philippe Berry

Hippo et Papillons, 2019
30 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

5,000 - $ 10,000

Artigas Planas, Hope, Sculpture

Artigas Planas

Hope, 2021
21 x 34 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,041

Marc Petit, Le serment, Sculpture

Marc Petit

Le serment, 2018
46 x 18 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$6,273

Adeline Weber Guibal, Danseuse, Sculpture

Adeline Weber Guibal

Danseuse, 2021
18 x 11 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,117

Dirk De Keyzer, Hariette, Sculpture

Dirk De Keyzer

Hariette, 2016
84 x 20 x 30 cm
Sculpture

10,000 - $ 15,000

Arman, Variation, Sculpture

Arman

Variation, 2002
85 x 32 x 18 cm
Sculpture

$13,800

Chantal de Sutter, Jules, Sculpture

Chantal de Sutter

Jules, 2021
30 x 13 x 11 cm
Sculpture

2,500 - $ 5,000

Milko Dobrev, Eagle, Sculpture

Milko Dobrev

Eagle, 2021
47 x 12 x 7 cm
Sculpture

$1,694

Pinto, Jour de fête, Sculpture

Pinto

Jour de fête, 2021
62 x 8 x 4 cm
Sculpture

$1,756

Irina Shark, The scream II, Sculpture

Irina Shark

The scream II, 2020
28 x 30 x 25 cm
Sculpture

$6,273

Réjane LeChat, Les Esprits de la terre groupe 1, Sculpture

Réjane LeChat

Les Esprits de la terre groupe 1, 2021
25 x 42 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$3,764

Viktor Horiaiev, Sea, Sculpture

Viktor Horiaiev

Sea, 2011
40 x 92 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$2,975 $3,500

Our recommendations Christophe Charbonnel, Poséidon, maquette pour monumentale, Sculpture

Christophe Charbonnel

Poséidon, maquette pour monumentale, 2018
57 x 33 x 28 cm
Sculpture

$15,055

Volodymyr Semkiv, Fetish, Sculpture

Volodymyr Semkiv

Fetish, 2012
35 x 5 x 4.5 cm
Sculpture

$1,882

Oshi Rabin, Thoughts in Motion, Sculpture

Oshi Rabin

Thoughts in Motion, 2015
53.3 x 15.2 x 8.4 cm
Sculpture

$2,800

Sylviane Selma Courgeau, So tells water I, Sculpture

Sylviane Selma Courgeau

So tells water I, 2020
32 x 23 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$2,747

Thierry Blum, Gisants, Sculpture

Thierry Blum

Gisants, 2001
25 x 40 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$9,409

Christine Guillemin, Grande grue du soleil levant, Sculpture

Christine Guillemin

Grande grue du soleil levant, 2019
160 x 100 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$30,110

Antonio Nocera, Clio, Sculpture

Antonio Nocera

Clio, 2015
67 x 45 x 45 cm
Sculpture

$50,000

Shota Voskanyan, Dedicated to Velázquez, Sculpture

Shota Voskanyan

Dedicated to Velázquez, 2018
20 x 15 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$2,885

Philippe Pasqua, Vanité, Sculpture

Philippe Pasqua

Vanité, 2015
37 x 20 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$22,708

Yvon Cochery, Aztek Trio 1/8, Sculpture

Yvon Cochery

Aztek Trio 1/8, 2000
34 x 16 x 9 cm
Sculpture

$3,262

Jean Ribera, Femme tronc, Sculpture

Jean Ribera

Femme tronc, 2019
33 x 8 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$753

Laurent Deguitre, Paris, Sculpture

Laurent Deguitre

Paris, 2000
6 x 8 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$690

Jim Budish, Chauncy, Sculpture

Jim Budish

Chauncy, 2021
167.6 x 5.1 x 5.1 cm
Sculpture

$26,185

Robert Bigelow, Sculpture No.4, Sculpture

Robert Bigelow

Sculpture No.4, 2018
40 x 40 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$5,500

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

$866

Jérôme Mesnager, Sans titre, Sculpture

Jérôme Mesnager

Sans titre, 2011
75 x 63 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$2,760

Yoann Merienne, Libeccio, Sculpture

Yoann Merienne

Libeccio, 2020
77.5 x 46 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$20,073

Martín Duque, Degas Danseur de Ballet, Sculpture

Martín Duque

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

$803

Linde Ergo, Les amoureux, Sculpture

Linde Ergo

Les amoureux, 2017
48 x 10 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$3,701

William Sweetlove, Cloned Bulldog with pet bottle, Sculpture

William Sweetlove

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

$8,155

Philip Hearsey, First impression, Sculpture

Philip Hearsey

First impression, 2014
18 x 17 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$2,258

Bruno Roudil, Anthonin, Sculpture

Bruno Roudil

Anthonin, 2019
17 x 43 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$401

Charlotte Champion, Big Culbuton, Sculpture

Charlotte Champion

Big Culbuton, 2014
25 x 15 x 57 cm
Sculpture

$6,273

Our recommendations Deville-Chabrolle, Romantique, Sculpture

Deville-Chabrolle

Romantique, 2016
18 x 16 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$2,258

Romain Langlois, Attraction de l'espace I, Sculpture

Romain Langlois

Attraction de l'espace I, 2015
121 x 119 x 108 cm
Sculpture

50,000 - $ 100,000

Mirogi, Monaco, Sculpture

Mirogi

Monaco, 2016
39 x 38 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$12,546

Bruno Mallart, Au pied de la lettre, Sculpture

Bruno Mallart

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

$4,391

Our recommendations Jenny Jacottet, Égarement, Sculpture

Jenny Jacottet

Égarement, 2018
47 x 20 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$3,513

Luo Li Rong, Ligne de ton dos, Sculpture

Luo Li Rong

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

$7,527

Julien Marinetti, Teddy Popi, Sculpture

Julien Marinetti

Teddy Popi, 2015
40 x 27 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$16,058

Thierry Martenon, N°080716 (TM46), Sculpture

Thierry Martenon

N°080716 (TM46), 2017
49 x 155 x 5.5 cm
Sculpture

$33,873

Jean-Michel Pradel-Fraysse, Amour, Sculpture

Jean-Michel Pradel-Fraysse

Amour, 2020
44 x 72 x 26 cm
Sculpture

$15,055

Mireia Serra, Rebel, Sculpture

Mireia Serra

Rebel, 2020
7 x 17 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$1,229

Our recommendations Xu Zhen, New, Sculpture

Xu Zhen

New, 2016
46 x 14 x 10.5 cm
Sculpture

$6,750

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

$7,276

Gediminas Endriekus, Passers-by, Sculpture

Gediminas Endriekus

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

$10,664

Stefano Bombardieri, Struzzo Rubik, Sculpture

Stefano Bombardieri

Struzzo Rubik, 2016
58 x 40 x 21 cm
Sculpture

$30,110

Roberto Matta, Bag with Wings, Sculpture

Roberto Matta

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

$36,382

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

$13,800

Anita Molinero, Sans titre, Sculpture

Anita Molinero

Sans titre, 2018
24.5 x 24 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$6,273

Igor Mitoraj, Eclipse 2, Sculpture

Igor Mitoraj

Eclipse 2, 1978
20 x 32 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$43,910

Maguy Banq, D'Or et de Bronze, Sculpture

Maguy Banq

D'Or et de Bronze, 2017
6 x 7 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$1,054

Claude Justamon, Cocon, Sculpture

Claude Justamon

Cocon, 2017
25 x 11 x 11 cm
Sculpture

$3,136

Mario Dilitz, 185, Sculpture

Mario Dilitz

185, 2020
90 x 35 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$24,464

God Sylver, Woman on the rocks, Sculpture

God Sylver

Woman on the rocks, 2018
35 x 50 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$2,760

Pierre-Jean Chabert, Tête de gorille, Sculpture

Pierre-Jean Chabert

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

$6,524

Gilles Nicolas, Le Chimpanzé hurlant 2/8, Sculpture

Gilles Nicolas

Le Chimpanzé hurlant 2/8, 2017
39 x 25 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$15,055

Brice Gelot, Let's adore and endure, Sculpture

Brice Gelot

Let's adore and endure, 2020
21 x 13 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$11,369

60 Artworks on 3575

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