What is sculpture?

We explain what sculpture is and what this artistic expression consists of. Characteristics, techniques, function and uses in society.

  1. What is sculpture?

Sculpture (from Latin sculpere , sculpt) is a form of artistic expression consisting of carving, shaping, sculpting or chiseling a material to create a shape with volume.

Sculpture is considered one of the Fine Arts , in addition to painting , music and architecture . The work that arises as a result of the artistic process is also given the name of sculpture.

  1. Characteristics of the sculpture

The sculpture has a great component of imitation and original creation.

The work materials of the sculpture can be of the most varied, from mud, stone and wood, to marble , wax, plaster and different types of metals (bronze, iron, copper , silver, gold). As technology allowed the development of new materials, the sculpture began to use resins and plastics that, having new strength and flexibility properties, allowed the development of new artistic styles in sculpture.

The sculpture has a great component of imitation, and also of original creation , since the representation can range from concrete figures such as people, animals, natural and artificial objects, with absolute proportionality, or they can be abstract sculptures that challenge the perception of the space.

The management of space is very important in sculpture , which implies that the final composition that the artist pursues must take into account spatial aspects such as height, width, depth, volume, shape, line layout, the texture, the consistency of the materials, the optics of the environment where the sculpture will be, and in some cases, the movement of the sculpture.

  1. Sculpture techniques

Wood carving involves instruments such as chisel and sandpaper.

There are numerous  techniques of sculpture work , according to the intentions and means of the artist. The techniques depend largely on the material on which you work.

In the case of wood and stone, the technique involves carving with instruments such as chisel and sandpaper , while in the case of softer materials such as clay and clay, manual modeling is used.

When the material is a metal, the technique involves casting and the use of molds . Drilling, painting and conservation techniques are also used, as well as the articulation of different pieces to create movement in the work.

The molds are commonly used for the reproduction of sculptures. They are made with plaster, resin or rubber, accurately reproducing the finished work.

  1. Function and uses of sculpture

Socially, sculpture can have very diverse uses and functions. Originally the sculptures had a religious function , for magical rituals, funeral rites, worship practices, etc.

Subsequently, he also acquired political functions, to manifest the power of the monarchies , preserve the memory of the peoples, defend political projects. Another use of sculpture, which became over time its most common function, is the aesthetic, which seeks to represent the beauty or artistic ideals of an era, or create decorative objects for interiors or exteriors.

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