From the latin sculptura.

 

According to the R.A.E. (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, for its initials in Spanish), there are two entries for this word:

1. The art of modelling, carving, or sculpting bulky shapes in clay, stone, wood, etc,

2. Work done by a sculptor.

 

The first one is one of the so called Fine Arts, together with architec...

From the latin sculptura.

 

According to the R.A.E. (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, for its initials in Spanish), there are two entries for this word:

1. The art of modelling, carving, or sculpting bulky shapes in clay, stone, wood, etc,

2. Work done by a sculptor.

 

The first one is one of the so called Fine Arts, together with architecture, painting, and music, through which the sculptor expresses himself by creating volume and filling up space. In this technique, the artist represents objects or creates three-dimensional shapes using the art of carving and chiselling along with smelting and moulding.The second one is the artistic work resulting from the application of this art, either created in an imitative way or by using the artist’s own inventiveness and imagination.

 

Giorgio Vasari (1511-1573) in his treatise about the three main arts, wrote:

... The sculptor takes out all the superfluous and reduces the material to the shape that lies inside the artist’s mind.

And, indeed, either in the workshop or in any other space, the artist manually works with his soul. The pieces carry the spirit of their artistic authors and the ability of their well trained hands.

Sculpture has a tactile trait as well as an optical; autonomous and generally three-dimensional, occupies a real space, that is, with three coordinates. It has physical features like mass, proportion, scale, edges... But most of all, light is one of the main sculptoral means.

From ancient times, man has had the need to sculpt. In the beginning, he did it using the simplest materials that he had at hand: stone, clay, and wood. He later used other materials like iron, bronze, lead, wax, etc....until the present, when, with the combination of different means and materials, a new array of artistic pieces can be made.

Sculpture had originally one purpose only: its inmediate use. Afterwards, a ritualistic, magical, funerary, and religious purpose was added to it. This purpose changed with the evolution of history, acquiring one that was mainly esthetic or simply ornamental, becoming a long-lasting or short-lived element.

The origin of sculpture can be practically traced back to the origin of man:

prehistoric people made their sculptures based on religion and myths, and even simple good-luck charms have been found in some burial sites.

The ancient civilizations made big sculptures that represented their gods, leaders, and heroes.

During the Middle Ages, in the western hemisphere, that old classical style disappeared only to be replaced by a new one where beauty was not the essential but a pedagogical purpose, and it was used as a knowledge-difffusing carrier. With the arising of the Gothic there was a new interest in nature and the most expressive traits in figures. The main themes were religious and funerary.

In the Renaissance, a new style was created. One that imitated the classical sculptures and filled the Italian cities, spreading to the rest of the European countries.

The Baroque sculpture stands out for its movement and theatrical expression and a mainly decorative purpose.

The Neoclassicism recovered the classical antique style of sculpture.

During the twentieth century, sculptures created new movements in this art by making a radical change to all that was previously known, thus leading the way to the appearance of Cubism, Constructivism, and Surrealism.

In the current era, sculpture is still part of the Fine Arts. It is an unmeasurable discipline for the shapes, sizes, and materials used; resulting in pieces of art for the delightness and amusement of those who truly appreciate it.

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