7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An eye opening study of how sculpture is created,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Materials of Sculpture (Paperback)For starters, this is a beautifully produced book, with lavish color photographs used very intelligently to illustrate the text. The author has selected a wide range of materials, which have been used to create modern works as well as sculpture made in ancient times, to show how the materials have been used to create exquisite works of art.
The author approaches sculpture from an interesting perspective, i.e. many of the sculptures that you might see in public or in museums take on a particular form because of the characteristic properties of the materials from which they are made. This might seems a very obvious statement, but for instance, when you learn from this book that the ancient civilizations of China and Egypt developed techniques to cut stone such as jade (which harder than iron) and granite before the development of metal tools, you appreciate their skill when looking at the fine detail embodied in the works illustrated in this book.
The author also describes how the artists and craftworkers overcame the limitations presented by their chosen material (such as stone, wood, bronze or porcelain) to produce the effects that would be appreciated by their patrons. Before the advent of plastics and resins, it was very hard to produce finely detailed and lifelike work, particularly where materials, such as stone, could only tolerate limited amount of undercutting, or porecelain, which can crack or shrink during firing.
The pictures are drawn from a very wide variety of sources - public and private collections, as well as sculpture on public display or in churches and palaces, from all over the world - but what the author brings to this study is an fascinating selection of pieces with very unique characteristics, such as virtuoso craftsmanship, or where interesting sculptural techniques have been employed, or a clever selection of materials. What I also liked about this book was the layout - you don't have to jump around text to find a picture refered to by the author.
This is not a technical book, but in some ways it would have been interesting to know a bit more about the workshops, factories and machinery used to create these works. This is such a lovely book, I had to forgive the author. He does, however, provide backround about the motivation of the key personalities who created great sculpture.
In short, this book makes an excellent addition to any collection of books on fine art, and will be of particular relevance to anyone who has made sculpture or used any of the materials featured in the book who would like to see examples of how different materials have been employed to best effect.