bronze sculpture

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bronze sculpture.

Bronze is ideal for casting art works; it flows into all crevices of a mold, thus perfectly reproducing every detail of the most delicately modeled sculpture. It is malleable beneath the graver's tool and admirable for repoussérepoussé
, the process or the product of ornamenting metallic surfaces with designs in relief hammered out from the back by hand. Gold and silver are most commonly used today for fine work, but copper and tin are suitable for the purpose, and bronze was extensively used
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 work. The Egyptians used bronze, cast and hammered, for utensils, armor, and statuary far in advance of the Bronze AgeBronze Age,
period in the development of technology when metals were first used regularly in the manufacture of tools and weapons. Pure copper and bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, were used indiscriminately at first; this early period is sometimes called the Copper Age.
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 in Europe. The Greeks were unexcelled in bronze sculpture. Among the few surviving examples of their work are two masterpieces: The Zeus of Artemisium (National Mus., Athens) and The Delphic Charioteer (Delphi Mus.). Examples of Etruscan artisans' work include a bronze chariot found at Monteleone (Metropolitan Mus.) and the celebrated Capitoline Wolf (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome). The Romans took quantities of bronze statues from Greece and made thousands themselves. They employed bronze for doors and for furniture, utensils, and candelabra, of which some were recovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Early medieval bronzes consisted mainly of utensils and domestic and ecclesiastical ornaments. During the Renaissance, Italian sculptors wrought magnificent bronzes of many sorts, outstanding among which are Ghiberti's doors to the baptistery of Florence and the sculptures of Donatello, Verrocchio, Giovanni Bologna, Pollaiuolo, and Cellini. A series of monumental effigies of the monarchs are among the finest English bronzes. France was known in the 18th cent. for gilded bronze furniture mounts. Major modern sculptors who have worked in bronze include Rodin, Epstein, Brancusi, and Lipchitz. The classic description of Renaissance bronze casting is given in Cellini's Autobiography (1558–62).


See D. G. Mitten and S. F. Doeringer, Master Bronzes from the Classical World (1968); G. Savage, A Concise History of Bronzes (1968); A. Kozloff and D. G. Mitten, The Gods Delight (1988); C. C. Mattusch, Greek Bronze Statuary (1988).

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