The three dimensional art of sculpture is one of the most vaunted of the artistic traditions. Dating back thousands of years, sculpture has been part of the human experience since the development of tools strong enough to carve three dimensional images from rock. For those with an artistic sense, sculpture can be a fascinating hobby.
We often think of Michelangelo’s “David” as perhaps the epitome of what sculpture represents. But there are other famous examples, include the Sphinx which is far older and is one of the finest examples of sculpture found, especially since it was carved from a single rock. Mount Rushmore is another example of sculpture, but for the purposes of building a hobby, it is more practical to choose sculpture sizes that can be performed by a single person.
The art of Sculpture
Sculpture is the expression of artistic intent on a three dimensional object. While we often think of stone or marble as the common elements used to craft a work of sculpture, the truth is that any three dimensional object that can be carved and hold a new shape can be called sculpture. From gems to plastics to wood and beyond, sculpture has been prevalent in all cultures since the dawn of mankind.
As there are many different examples of sculpture found around the world, so too are the different types and styles that have been employed as well.
The many types and styles of sculpture
We may be most familiar with the free standing statues and small, intricate carvings found virtually everywhere, but there are different forms of sculpture as well.
Relief: A relief is a sculpture in which the background of the work is still attached. The aforementioned Mount Rushmore is a type of relief sculpture, but even within this category are different sub-types as well. There are low, mid and high reliefs which dictate how much the sculpture are separated from its source material. Sunk-relief is a term that is restricted to the works of ancient Egyptian art.
Free-Standing: As implied, free standing means that the sculpture has no background and literally “stands” on its own. The aforementioned “David” is a classic example of free standing sculpture, but it can apply to small and larger works that can rest on their own with no support.
Non-Traditional: There are many non-traditional types of sculpture that can be used to create a wide variety of art, here are just a few.
- Kinetic – Which involves the use of physical motion
- Land & Site-Specific
Each of these non-traditional forms of sculpture can be used in various ways to create a three dimensional image that is both pleasing and reflective of the artistic intent.
The equipment used to create a sculpture will depend on the materials used to carve out the image. While most people can imagine using hammers, files and spikes to chip away on stone to create a statue, if the material is wood for example, then saws, files and even chainsaws can be used.
As in all cases, appropriate protection is recommended, usually in the form of goggles, gloves and garments that are made to resist penetration of material that has been chipped.
Tips to choose which type to suit one depending on one’s age
The joy of sculpture can be experienced by all ages. However, the larger and harder the material, the greater the need for physical dexterity and endurance for the long hours needed to create a work of art. Even small sculptures can take a great deal of time if they are crafted from very hard materials. The key here is to pick one that is suitable for your age and can express your artistic talent.