A sculpture is a three-dimensional form created as an artistic expression. Sculptures are often figurative art, but can also be abstract works. Human and animal figures are frequent subjects of sculpture.
Materials and techniques
A sculpture can be any size from miniature to bigger-than-life, and made from any material. Popular materials include:
- Stone (e.g. marble, sandstone, ...)
- Metal (e.g. bronze, silver, tin)
A sculpture can be made in all kinds of techniques. The most important are:
With stone-like materials, sculptures are made by taking away pieces of the material. With other materials such as terracotta, the artist can build up a sculpture in an additive, rather than subtractive process. Metal sculptures are usually cast using a complicated technique that begins with making a wax sculpture which will be destroyed in the casting process. In assemblage, solid pieces are joined to build the sculpture.
Sculpture vs. painting
In the history of art, there have been long debates which art form was "superior" or "higher", sculpture or painting. Those who argued for painting pointed out the additional skills required by painters, such as the mastery of color, light and shadow, perspective and the optical properties of the various materials and surfaces, which play little or no role for sculptors. The opponents argued that a sculptor needs to plan, design and shape his figures from all sides in true 3D, which is more than just showing one specific point of view, a two-dimensional projection, as in painting.