Everything you should know about this ever-present art form.
Bronze has been overlooked, perhaps unfairly, for some time, due to the dominance of marble sculpture in high end works. Think of the Venus de Milo, the Ecstasy of St Theresa, and of David. Bronze is quite often considered to be the less glamorous sibling of marble, but this hasn’t always been the case.
The Beginnings of Bronze Sculpture
In fact, Bronze Sculpture is an artform that dates back millenia, thanks to the properties it possesses that marble could only dream of. Bronze is extremely versatile, has rich colouring, and thanks to it’s ability to be shaped and formed in any way the artist desires, an ability to achieve the finest of detail.
Many of the first known sculptures we have found in the ruins of Egypt were created in Bronze. And, as we will see, many artists are more known for their work in bronze than anything else. Unlike marble, bronze sculptures can be formed into small figurines, or monumental statues. We also see many modern abstract pieces created entirely in bronze too, in ways that just would not be possible with marble.
What Exactly *IS* Bronze Sculpture?
Creating a sculpture from bronze is usually done in the same way it was thousands of years ago – you create a mould, and then pour in molten bronze. Once the sculpture has solidified you carefully remove it from the mould.
Officially, Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, made by heating the two metals together and allowing them to cool. In today’s market, a statue or figurine only qualifies as a true “bronze” if it has been made from bronze that was created with a strict ratio of 88% copper and 12% tin.
This has not always been the case – in the past, many “bronze” statues were actually created from molten copper and arsenic, whilst other examples actually turned out to be brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc.
The process used to create a bronze sculpture is known as “casting”; pouring molten metal into a mould and waiting for it to solidify. This is entirely different to the chisselling and carving used to create a marble sculpture. Ceramics require endless modelling to achieve the same effect as the techniques used to create a marble. Casting is simply much more versatile, and has allowed some artists to create truly innovative and thought-provoking pieces.
Best known for her work creating unique painted bronze sculptures, Dorit Levinstein incorporates aspects of Chinese Philosophy into her work, and its relation to movement and immediate environments. Her sculptures have been exhibited worldwide and are in high demand throughout the art world.
Levinstein was influenced by artists such as Cezanne, Gaudi, Limt and Niki de Saint Phalle according to Wikipedia, but it is obvious from looking at her work that her influences stretch much further than this. You can see elements that have obviously been inspired by more modern sculptors in her work, as well as American Pop Artists.
If you are interested in owning a Levinstein piece, her work is usually identified as belonging to three main periods: ‘The Classical Bronze Period’, ‘The Stone and Mixed Media”, and her current favourite, which has been labelled “Colorful Linear Figures” which are made mostly of bronze and also of aluminium. Dorit’s work can be easily identified from her colorful patterns, delicate lines, and impressive attention to detail.
A Short Conclusion
Bronze Sculpture is an artform that has truly stood the test of time. Whilst marble can be difficult to work with and easy to break and damage, bronze is a hard and ductile metal. This makes it an excellent medium for producing sculpture. It is preferable to other metals because during the casting process it is possible to achieve a level of detail and consistency that other materials struggle to match.
Bronze expands during the casting process, capturing the detail of the mould, but then contracts again allowing easy removal. This allows moulds to be reused and in some cases, bronze sculptures to be reproduced with minimal effort. For these reasons, Bronze Sculpture as an artform is certainly here to stay.