Bronze sculpture is a part of the decor and a masterpiece of the master. Back in the 3rd millennium B.C., sculptures and vessels were made of bronze in Mesopotamia. This type of art has survived to our days, and in spite of its antiquity is very popular in the XXI century.
The history of bronze articles
At the beginning, bronze was used to make common tools and household items, but much later they started to make works of art.
At first the tools were made with cold forging. But for the economy of such items were unstable. They began to add tin to copper and the stronger metal, bronze, turned out. It was sharpened better and was much more durable.
Mankind was developing and the method of hot casting was tested, which was the start of the artistic production of objects.
Bronze sculptures began to appear in the fifth century B.C. They cast portraits of leaders, statues of the female body, figures of animals and birds.
Archaeologists are still finding ancient artifacts, thanks to which the knowledge of former times is expanding.
The antique bronze sculptures react in an interesting way to the flow of light. The bronze reflects the light with clear, sharp highlights. The main background of such items is based on contrasts in appearance and distinct dark outlines.
For the master of sculpture, bronze is the substance that guarantees the longevity of his work. Notwithstanding the weather conditions, bronze sculptures can be kept for centuries, which emphasizes its value:
When oxidized, they become covered by a patina that varies in color from greenish to black.
Bronze is interesting because it is an aesthetic material. All bronze statuettes are yellow-red or yellow-green. Bronze pieces can be tinted, gilded and polished.
Bronze alloys are not a cheap material. Coins have been minted from it and jewelry has been made from it.
Bronze is not a pure metal, but with impurities. There are many bronze alloys.
The alloys have different contents of tin and copper. A typical modern bronze contains 88% copper and 12% tin. There is alpha bronze. It contains an alpha-solid mixture of tin in copper. Such alloys are used for mechanical parts as well.
History shows that craftsmen have included other metals in solution with copper when making their masterpieces. Beautiful compounds were obtained. Bronze sculptures on the photo, which are presented in the article, cause admiration.
For example, the Gloucester candlestick. The bronze mixture is filled with zinc, nickel, antimony, arsenic, iron, and a rather weighty amount of silver. Most likely, the candlestick was made from ancient coins.
Back in the Bronze Age, different kinds of bronze were used to make the pieces:
Classic – 10% tin, and plank weapons were made.
Moderate – 6% tin, sheets were rolled from ingots and armor and helmets were forged.
Sculptural bronze – 90% copper and 10% tin, used to this day to create masterpieces.
Bronze serves as the most important material, along with marble. But bronze is used to make more masculine works that convey strength and energy.
Bronze sculptures are still in high demand among the wealthy and are considered a sign of good taste. The properties of bronze allow large and small pieces to be made, conveying even the smallest details.
The durable material, which can be easily minted, cast and forged, has been known since the days of Ancient Egypt. People knew how to cast bronze sculptures.
This is done in three ways:
Casting the mass into an empty mold. This is a very old method used to make elementary figures. Bronze is poured into a hollow mold, left to harden, and then the mold is removed.
Casting in pieces (earthen mold method). The method allows you to use the mold to pour the bronze many times. This is the way sculptures were made in Ancient Greece. This casting method has been improved and is still used today. The sculpture is poured in separate elements, then assembled and processed.
Casting with wax. A model of the future product is prepared using plaster, wood or clay. Ready model is covered with a special compound, and silicon rubber on top. After 5-6 hours, the upper layer hardens, and the grease allows it to be easily removed from the rubber mold, keeping all the smallest details intact. Next, the rubber mold is joined to the integral mold and filled with liquid wax. When it hardens, a wax copy of the piece comes out. A spree is attached to this replica, dipped in a ceramic mortar, coated with stone powder, and set in an autoclave. After 10 minutes, the ceramic will harden and the wax will spread. Then, comes the work with the ceramic mold. For two hours at 850 degrees, it is fired and begins casting. The bronze alloy is heated to 1140 degrees and poured over a spree into the ceramic mold. The alloy hardens after a short period of time. The mold is destroyed and the finished bronze sculpture is removed.
In addition to casting, the bronze sculpture may be hammered out of metal plates.
This type of bronze fabrication is called repoussé. A sheet of metal is softened by the fire, and the blow of a hammer on the inside gives the desired convexity, gradually, blow after blow, the outlines and details of the masterpiece arise. The master must have good luggage of practice and dexterity.
Toning, patenting and oxidation
A colorful protective coating is formed on the surface of the bronze piece, thanks to a certain chemical treatment. If the bronze statuette is small, then it is dipped into a container with a solution in its entirety. Large figurines are subject to careful treatment with a brush, foam rubber and sponge. To fix the film on the item, and to prevent fouling, after the washing and drying procedures, they rub it with a rag soaked in olive.
Nowadays, bronze items are regaining their popularity. Nowadays, you can meet masterfully made figurines and statuettes, which transmit the mood and every little detail. They may well become part of a beautiful interior.
How do artists make bronze sculptures?
There are two ways to cast a bronze sculpture: the lost-wax process and the sand-casting process.
The lost wax method is also called cire perdue in French. It involves creating a clay model of the sculpture, coating it with wax, then dipping it in liquid metal that hardens around the wax. Once hardened, the artist removes the wax to reveal an exact replica of their original work.
The sand casting process uses a mold made from plaster or other material to create a rough shape for the statue. The mold is then filled with molten bronze and left to cool overnight. The next day, any remaining parts of the mold are broken away and polished before being painted or covered in patina (a chemical coating used to give sculptures an aged look).
What are the three steps in making a bronze sculpture?
Step 1: Make a sketch of the sculpture
Step 2: Make a model of the sculpture
Step 3: Cast the sculpture in bronze