Modern Bronze Sculpture
Bronze is an incredibly important historical art medium. It has been used for thousands of years to create statues that show a high level of detail, and that stays in its stunning form for thousands of years after its creators are gone. However, it is still being used to great effect to this day, with modern techniques and new talent forging a new generation of bronze sculptures.
Modern Bronze Sculpture can be created using several different methods. Modern students of bronze casting usually work in direct wax, where the model is formed of wax, possibly over a core, or with a core cast in place, if the piece is to be hollow. If no mould is made and the casting process fails, the artwork will also be lost, making this method quite risky if not done correctly. After the metal has cooled, the external ceramic/clay is chipped away, revealing an image of the wax form, including core pins, sprues, vents, and risers. These are all then painstakingly removed and polished over in order to give the piece its proper form.
For a large sculpture, the artist will usually prepare small study models to ascertain the correct proportions for the piece. An intermediate-sized model (or a maquette) is then constructed with all of the final details. The maquette is then used to determine the final dimensions of the piece, which is formed out of wood, cardboard, plastic foam, and/or paper to approximately fill the volume while keeping the weight as minimal as possible. Finally, clay, plaster or similar material is used to form the full-size model, from which a mould may be constructed. Modern welding techniques allow larger sculptures to be cast in pieces, and then joined at a later stage.
There are a few qualities of Bronze that make it such a good medium for casting. One of the main features is how it reacts to heat. When heated sufficiently it will expand within the mould, allowing it to take on its form down to the minutest details. It then shrinks while keeping the form and detail, making it easier to remove from the mould. It is also very durable, able to withstand the elements for many years before sustaining significant damage if properly prepared. Finally, the ability to use corrosive materials to create a patina allows sculptors to create a vibrant coating and completely change the aesthetic of the piece.
For examples of modern bronze sculptures, Turner Fine Arts in Birmingham are proud to showcase them in various styles and art.