Diy garden wall art ideas

Joanna Henderson

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Materials and techniques

The materials used in sculpture are diverse, changing throughout history. The classic materials, with outstanding durability, are metal, especially bronze, rock and pottery, with wood, bone and antler less durable but cheaper options. Precious materials such as gold, silver, jade, and ivory are often used for little luxury works, and sometimes in larger ones, as in chryselephantine statues.

Diy garden wall art ideas

More common and less expensive materials were used for sculpture for wider consumption, including hardwoods (such as oak, box/boxwood, and lime/linden); terracotta and other ceramics, wax (a extremely common material for models for casting, and receiving the impressions of cylinder seals and engraved gems), and cast metals such as pewter and zinc (spelter). But a vast number of other materials own been used as part of sculptures, in ethnographic and ancient works as much as modern ones.

Sculptures are often painted, but commonly lose their paint to time, or restorers. Numerous diverse painting techniques own been used in making sculpture, including tempera, oil painting, gilding, home paint, aerosol, enamel and sandblasting.[2][6]

Many sculptors seek new ways and materials to make art. One of Pablo Picasso’s most renowned sculptures included bicycle parts. Alexander Calder and other modernists made spectacular use of painted steel. Since the s, acrylics and other plastics own been used as well.

Andy Goldsworthy makes his unusually ephemeral sculptures from almost entirely natural materials in natural settings. Some sculpture, such as ice sculpture, sand sculpture, and gas sculpture, is deliberately short-lived. Recent sculptors own used stained glass, tools, machine parts, hardware and consumer packaging to fashion their works. Sculptors sometimes use found objects, and Chinese scholar’s rocks own been appreciated for numerous centuries.


Pottery is one of the oldest materials for sculpture, as well as clay being the medium in which numerous sculptures cast in metal are originally modelled for casting.

Sculptors often build little preliminary works called maquettes of ephemeral materials such as plaster of Paris, wax, unfired clay, or plasticine.[13] Numerous cultures own produced pottery which combines a function as a vessel with a sculptural form, and little figurines own often been as favorite as they are in modern Western culture. Stamps and moulds were used by most ancient civilizations, from ancient Rome and Mesopotamia to China.[14]


Glass may be used for sculpture through a wide range of working techniques, though the use of it for large works is a recent development.

It can be carved, with considerable difficulty; the Roman Lycurgus Cup is every but unique.[11] Boiling casting can be done by ladling molten glass into molds that own been created by pressing shapes into sand, carved graphite or detailed plaster/silica molds.

Diy garden wall art ideas

Kiln casting glass involves heating chunks of glass in a kiln until they are liquid and flow into a waiting mold under it in the kiln. Glass can also be blown and/or boiling sculpted with hand tools either as a solid mass or as part of a blown object. More recent techniques involve chiseling and bonding plate glass with polymer silicates and UV light.[12]


Bronze and related copper alloys are the oldest and still the most favorite metals for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a «bronze».

Common bronze alloys own the unusual and desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling the finest details of a mold. Their strength and lack of brittleness (ductility) is an advantage when figures in action are to be created, especially when compared to various ceramic or rock materials (see marble sculpture for several examples).

Diy garden wall art ideas

Gold is the softest and most precious metal, and extremely significant in jewellery; with silver it is soft enough to be worked with hammers and other tools as well as cast; repoussé and chasing are among the techniques used in gold and silversmithing.

Casting is a group of manufacturing processes by which a liquid material (bronze, copper, glass, aluminum, iron) is (usually) poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify. The solid casting is then ejected or broken out to finish the process,[9] although a final stage of «cold work» may follow on the finished cast.

Casting may be used to form boiling liquid metals or various materials that cold set after mixing of components (such as epoxies, concrete, plaster and clay). Casting is most often used for making complicated shapes that would be otherwise hard or uneconomical to make by other methods. The oldest surviving casting is a copper Mesopotamian frog from BCE.[10] Specific techniques include lost-wax casting, plaster mold casting and sand casting.

Welding is a process where diverse pieces of metal are fused together to create diverse shapes and designs. There are numerous diverse forms of welding, such as Oxy-fuel welding, Stick welding, MIG welding, and TIG welding.

Oxy-fuel is probably the most common method of welding when it comes to creating steel sculptures because it is the easiest to use for shaping the steel as well as making clean and less noticeable joins of the steel. The key to Oxy-fuel welding is heating each piece of metal to be joined evenly until every are red and own a shine to them. Once that shine is on each piece, that shine will soon become a ‘pool’ where the metal is liquified and the welder must get the pools to join together, fusing the metal. Once cooled off, the location where the pools joined are now one continuous piece of metal. Also used heavily in Oxy-fuel sculpture creation is forging.

Forging is the process of heating metal to a certain point to soften it enough to be shaped into diverse forms.

Diy garden wall art ideas

One extremely common example is heating the finish of a steel rod and hitting the red heated tip with a hammer while on an anvil to form a point. In between hammer swings, the forger rotates the rod and gradually forms a sharpened point from the blunt finish of a steel rod.


Stone sculpture is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural rock are shaped by the controlled removal of rock. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of rock work, though not every areas of the world own such abundance of excellent rock for carving as Egypt, Greece, India and most of Europe.

Petroglyphs (also called rock engravings) are perhaps the earliest form: images created by removing part of a rock surface which remains in situ, by incising, pecking, carving, and abrading. Monumental sculpture covers large works, and architectural sculpture, which is attached to buildings. Hardstone carving is the carving for artistic purposes of semi-precious stones such as jade, agate, onyx, rock crystal, sard or carnelian, and a general term for an object made in this way. Alabaster or mineral gypsum is a soft mineral that is simple to carve for smaller works and still relatively durable. Engraved gems are little carved gems, including cameos, originally used as seal rings.

The copying of an original statue in rock, which was extremely significant for ancient Greek statues, which are almost every known from copies, was traditionally achieved by «pointing», along with more freehand methods. Pointing involved setting up a grid of string squares on a wooden frame surrounding the original, and then measuring the position on the grid and the distance between grid and statue of a series of individual points, and then using this information to carve into the block from which the copy is made.[8]

Wood carving

Wood carving has been extremely widely practiced, but survives much less well than the other main materials, being vulnerable to decay, insect damage, and fire.

It therefore forms an significant hidden element in the art history of numerous cultures.[3] Outdoor wood sculpture does not final endless in most parts of the world, so that we own little thought how the totem pole tradition developed. Numerous of the most significant sculptures of China and Japan in specific are in wood, and the grand majority of African sculpture and that of Oceania and other regions.

Wood is light, so suitable for masks and other sculpture intended to be carried, and can take extremely fine detail. It is also much easier to work than rock.

It has been extremely often painted after carving, but the paint wears less well than the wood, and is often missing in surviving pieces.

Diy garden wall art ideas

Painted wood is often technically described as «wood and polychrome». Typically a layer of gesso or plaster is applied to the wood, and then the paint is applied to that.


Ancient Near East

Main articles: Art of Mesopotamia, Assyrian sculpture, and Persian art

The Protoliterate period in Mesopotamia, dominated by Uruk, saw the production of sophisticated works love the Warka Vase and cylinder seals. The Guennol Lioness is an outstanding little limestone figure from Elam of about – BCE, part human and part lioness.[27] A little later there are a number of figures of large-eyed priests and worshippers, mostly in alabaster and up to a foot high, who attended temple cult images of the deity, but extremely few of these own survived.[28] Sculptures from the Sumerian and Akkadian period generally had large, staring eyes, and endless beards on the men.

Numerous masterpieces own also been found at the Royal Cemetery at Ur (c. BCE), including the two figures of a Ram in a Thicket, the Copper Bull and a bull’s head on one of the Lyres of Ur.[29]

From the numerous subsequent periods before the ascendency of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 10th century BCE Mesopotamian art survives in a number of forms: cylinder seals, relatively little figures in the circular, and reliefs of various sizes, including cheap plaques of moulded pottery for the home, some religious and some apparently not.[30] The Burney Relief is an unusually elaborate and relatively large (20 x 15inches, 50 x 37cm) terracotta plaque of a naked winged goddess with the feet of a bird of prey, and attendant owls and lions.

It comes from the 18th or 19th centuries BCE, and may also be moulded.[31] Rock stelae, votive offerings, or ones probably commemorating victories and showing feasts, are also found from temples, which unlike more official ones lack inscriptions that would explain them;[32] the fragmentary Stele of the Vultures is an early example of the inscribed type,[33] and the Assyrian Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III a large and solid tardy one.[34]

The conquest of the whole of Mesopotamia and much surrounding territory by the Assyrians created a larger and wealthier state than the region had known before, and extremely grandiose art in palaces and public places, no doubt partly intended to match the splendour of the art of the neighbouring Egyptian empire.

Unlike earlier states, the Assyrians could use easily carved rock from northern Iraq, and did so in grand quantity. The Assyrians developed a style of extremely large schemes of extremely finely detailed narrative low reliefs in rock for palaces, with scenes of war or hunting; the British Museum has an outstanding collection, including the Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal and the Lachish reliefs showing a campaign. They produced extremely little sculpture in the circular, except for colossal guardian figures of the human-headed lamassu, which are sculpted in high relief on two sides of a rectangular block, with the heads effectively in the circular (and also five legs, so that both views seem complete).

Even before dominating the region they had continued the cylinder seal tradition with designs which are often exceptionally energetic and refined.[35]

Prehistoric periods


The earliest undisputed examples of sculpture belong to the Aurignacian culture, which was located in Europe and southwest Asia and athletic at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic. As well as producing some of the earliest known cave art, the people of this culture developed finely-crafted rock tools, manufacturing pendants, bracelets, ivory beads, and bone-flutes, as well as three-dimensional figurines.[19][20]

The 30cm tall Löwenmensch found in the Hohlenstein Stadel area of Germany is an anthropomorphic lion-man figure carved from woolly mammoth ivory.

Diy garden wall art ideas

It has been dated to about 35–40,BP, making it, along with the Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest known uncontested example of figurative art.[21]

Much surviving prehistoric art is little portable sculptures, with a little group of female Venus figurines such as the Venus of Willendorf (24–26,BP) found across central Europe.[22] The Swimming Reindeer of about 13, years ago is one of the finest of a number of Magdalenian carvings in bone or antler of animals in the art of the Upper Paleolithic, although they are outnumbered by engraved pieces, which are sometimes classified as sculpture.[23] Two of the largest prehistoric sculptures can be found at the Tuc d’Audobert caves in France, where around 12–17, years ago a masterful sculptor used a spatula-like rock tool and fingers to model a pair of large bison in clay against a limestone rock.[24]

With the beginning of the Mesolithic in Europe figurative sculpture greatly reduced,[25] and remained a less common element in art than relief decoration of practical objects until the Roman period, despite some works such as the Gundestrup cauldron from the European Iron Age and the Bronze Age Trundholm sun chariot.[26]

Ancient Near East

From the ancient Near East, the over-life sized rock Urfa Man from modern Turkey comes from about 9, BCE, and the ‘Ain Ghazal Statues from around and BCE.

These are from modern Jordan, made of lime plaster and reeds, and about half life-size; there are 15 statues, some with two heads side by side, and 15 busts. Little clay figures of people and animals are found at numerous sites across the Near East from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, and represent the start of a more-or-less continuous tradition in the region.

  1. Swimming Reindeer c.13, BP, female and male swimming reindeer – tardy Magdalenian period, found at Montastruc, Tarn et Garonne, France

  2. Venus of Laussel c.27,BP, an Upper Palaeolithic carving, Bordeaux museum, France

  3. A Jōmondogū figure, 1st millenium BCE, Japan

Ancient Egypt

See also: Art of ancient Egypt and Amarna art

The monumental sculpture of ancient Egypt is world-famous, but refined and delicate little works exist in much greater numbers.

The Egyptians used the distinctive technique of sunk relief, which is well suited to extremely bright sunlight. The main figures in reliefs adhere to the same figure convention as in painting, with parted legs (where not seated) and head shown from the side, but the torso from the front, and a standard set of proportions making up the figure, using 18 «fists» to go from the ground to the hair-line on the forehead.[36] This appears as early as the Narmer Palette from Dynasty I. However, there as elsewhere the convention is not used for minor figures shown engaged in some activity, such as the captives and corpses.[37] Other conventions make statues of males darker than females ones.

Extremely conventionalized portrait statues appear from as early as Dynasty II, before 2, BCE,[38] and with the exception of the art of the Amarna period of Ahkenaten,[39] and some other periods such as Dynasty XII, the idealized features of rulers, love other Egyptian artistic conventions, changed little until after the Greek conquest.[40]

Egyptian pharaohs were always regarded as deities, but other deities are much less common in large statues, except when they represent the pharaoh as another deity; however the other deities are frequently shown in paintings and reliefs.

The renowned row of four colossal statues exterior the main temple at Abu Simbel each show Rameses II, a typical scheme, though here exceptionally large.[41] Little figures of deities, or their animal personifications, are extremely common, and found in favorite materials such as pottery. Most larger sculpture survives from Egyptian temples or tombs; by Dynasty IV (– BCE) at the latest the thought of the Ka statue was firmly established. These were put in tombs as a resting put for the ka portion of the soul, and so we own a excellent number of less conventionalized statues of well-off istrators and their wives, numerous in wood as Egypt is one of the few places in the world where the climate allows wood to survive over millennia.

The so-called reserve heads, plain hairless heads, are especially naturalistic. Early tombs also contained little models of the slaves, animals, buildings and objects such as boats necessary for the deceased to continue his lifestyle in the afterworld, and later Ushabti figures.[42]

  1. Facsimile of the Narmer Palette, c. BCE, which already shows the canonical Egyptian profile view and proportions of the figure

  2. Menkaura (Mycerinus) and queen, Ancient Kingdom, Dynasty 4, – BCE. The formality of the pose is reduced by the queen’s arm circular her husband

Netsuke of tigress with two cubs, midth-century Japan, ivory with shell inlayMoai from Easter Island, where the concentration of resources on large sculpture may own had serious political effects.Sumerian male worshipper, alabaster with shell eyes, − BCEModern reconstruction of the original painted appearance of a Tardy Archaic Greek marble figure from the Temple of Aphaea, based on analysis of pigment traces,[7] c.

BCEDetail of Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Spanish, wood and polychrome,

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Anti-sculpture movements

Aniconism remained restricted to Judaism, which did not accept figurative sculpture until the 19th century,[18] before expanding to Early Christianity, which initially accepted large sculptures.

In Christianity and Buddhism, sculpture became extremely significant. Christian Eastern Orthodoxy has never accepted monumental sculpture, and Islam has consistently rejected almost every figurative sculpture, except for extremely little figures in reliefs and some animal figures that fulfill a useful function, love the renowned lions supporting a fountain in the Alhambra. Numerous forms of Protestantism also do not approve of religious sculpture.

There has been much iconoclasm of sculpture from religious motives, from the Early Christians, the Beeldenstorm of the Protestant Reformation to the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan by the Taliban.

Purposes and subjects

One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in some form of association with religion. Cult images are common in numerous cultures, though they are often not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art, love the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

The actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none own survived, were evidently rather little, even in the largest temples. The same is often true in Hinduism, where the extremely simple and ancient form of the lingam is the most common. Buddhism brought the sculpture of religious figures to East Asia, where there seems to own been no earlier equivalent tradition, though again simple shapes love the bi and cong probably had religious significance.

Small sculptures as personal possessions go back to the earliest prehistoric art, and the use of extremely large sculpture as public art, especially to impress the viewer with the power of a ruler, goes back at least to the Grand Sphinx of some 4, years ago.

In archaeology and art history the appearance, and sometimes disappearance, of large or monumental sculpture in a culture is regarded as of grand significance, though tracing the emergence is often complicated by the presumed existence of sculpture in wood and other perishable materials of which no record remains;[3] the totem pole is an example of a tradition of monumental sculpture in wood that would leave no traces for archaeology. The ability to summon the resources to create monumental sculpture, by transporting generally extremely heavy materials and arranging for the payment of what are generally regarded as full-time sculptors, is considered a mark of a relatively advanced culture in terms of social organization.

Recent unexpected discoveries of ancient Chinese bronze age figures at Sanxingdui, some more than twice human size, own disturbed numerous ideas held about early Chinese civilization, since only much smaller bronzes were previously known.[4] Some undoubtedly advanced cultures, such as the Indus Valley civilization, appear to own had no monumental sculpture at every, though producing extremely sophisticated figurines and seals.

The Mississippian culture seems to own been progressing towards its use, with little rock figures, when it collapsed. Other cultures, such as ancient Egypt and the Easter Island culture, seem to own devoted huge resources to extremely large-scale monumental sculpture from a extremely early stage.

The collecting of sculpture, including that of earlier periods, goes back some 2, years in Greece, China and Mesoamerica, and numerous collections were available on semi-public display endless before the modern museum was invented. From the 20th century the relatively restricted range of subjects found in large sculpture expanded greatly, with abstract subjects and the use or representation of any type of subject now common.

Today much sculpture is made for intermittent display in galleries and museums, and the ability to transport and store the increasingly large works is a factor in their construction. Little decorative figurines, most often in ceramics, are as favorite today (though strangely neglected by modern and Contemporary art) as they were in the Rococo, or in ancient Greece when Tanagra figurines were a major industry, or in East Asian and Pre-Columbian art. Little sculpted fittings for furniture and other objects go well back into antiquity, as in the Nimrud ivories, Begram ivories and finds from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Portrait sculpture began in Egypt, where the Narmer Palette shows a ruler of the 32nd century BCE, and Mesopotamia, where we own 27 surviving statues of Gudea, who ruled Lagash c. – BCE. In ancient Greece and Rome, the erection of a portrait statue in a public put was almost the highest mark of honour, and the ambition of the elite, who might also be depicted on a coin.[5] In other cultures such as Egypt and the Near East public statues were almost exclusively the preserve of the ruler, with other wealthy people only being portrayed in their tombs.

Rulers are typically the only people given portraits in Pre-Columbian cultures, beginning with the Olmec colossal heads of about 3, years ago. East Asian portrait sculpture was entirely religious, with leading clergy being commemorated with statues, especially the founders of monasteries, but not rulers, or ancestors. The Mediterranean tradition revived, initially only for tomb effigies and coins, in the Middle Ages, but expanded greatly in the Renaissance, which invented new forms such as the personal portrait medal.

Animals are, with the human figure, the earliest subject for sculpture, and own always been favorite, sometimes realistic, but often imaginary monsters; in China animals and monsters are almost the only traditional subjects for rock sculpture exterior tombs and temples.

The kingdom of plants is significant only in jewellery and decorative reliefs, but these form almost every the large sculpture of Byzantine art and Islamic art, and are extremely significant in most Eurasian traditions, where motifs such as the palmette and vine scroll own passed east and west for over two millennia.

One form of sculpture found in numerous prehistoric cultures around the world is specially enlarged versions of ordinary tools, weapons or vessels created in impractical precious materials, for either some form of ceremonial use or display or as offerings. Jade or other types of greenstone were used in China, Olmec Mexico, and Neolithic Europe, and in early Mesopotamia large pottery shapes were produced in rock.

Bronze was used in Europe and China for large axes and blades, love the Oxborough Dirk.

Social status of sculptors

Worldwide, sculptors own generally been tradesmen whose work is unsigned; in some traditions, for example China, where sculpture did not share the prestige of literati painting, this has affected the status of sculpture itself.[15] Even in ancient Greece, where sculptors such as Phidias became renowned, they appear to own retained much the same social status as other artisans, and perhaps not much greater financial rewards, although some signed their works.[16] In the Middle Ages artists such as the 12th-century Gislebertus sometimes signed their work, and were sought after by diverse cities, especially from the Trecento onwards in Italy, with figures such as Arnolfo di Cambio, and Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni.

Goldsmiths and jewellers, dealing with precious materials and often doubling as bankers, belonged to powerful guilds and had considerable status, often holding civic office. Numerous sculptors also practised in other arts; Andrea del Verrocchio also painted, and Giovanni Pisano, Michelangelo, and Jacopo Sansovino were architects. Some sculptors maintained large workshops. Even in the Renaissance the physical nature of the work was perceived by Leonardo da Vinci and others as pulling below the status of sculpture in the arts, though the reputation of Michelangelo perhaps put this long-held thought to relax.

From the High Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Leone Leoni and Giambologna could become wealthy, and ennobled, and enter the circle of princes, after a period of sharp argument over the relative status of sculpture and painting.[17] Much decorative sculpture on buildings remained a trade, but sculptors producing individual pieces were recognised on a level with painters. From the 18th century or earlier sculpture also attracted middle-class students, although it was slower to do so than painting. Women sculptors took longer to appear than women painters, and were less prominent until the 20th century.


A basic distinction is between sculpture in the circular, free-standing sculpture, such as statues, not attached (except possibly at the base) to any other surface, and the various types of relief, which are at least partly attached to a background surface. Relief is often classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, and sometimes an intermediate mid-relief. Sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief is the usual sculptural medium for large figure groups and narrative subjects, which are hard to achieve in the circular, and is the typical technique used both for architectural sculpture, which is attached to buildings, and for small-scale sculpture decorating other objects, as in much pottery, metalwork and jewellery.

Relief sculpture may also decorate steles, upright slabs, generally of rock, often also containing inscriptions.

Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of rock or wood, and modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material. Techniques such as casting, stamping and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; numerous of these permit the production of several copies.

The term «sculpture» is often used mainly to describe large works, which are sometimes called monumental sculpture, meaning either or both of sculpture that is large, or that is attached to a building.

But the term properly covers numerous types of little works in three dimensions using the same techniques, including coins and medals, hardstone carvings, a term for little carvings in rock that can take detailed work.

The extremely large or «colossal» statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity; the largest on record at m (ft) is the Indian Statue of Unity. Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades.

The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the «head», showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up. Little forms of sculpture include the figurine, normally a statue that is no more than 18 inches (46cm) tall, and for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin.

Modern and contemporary art own added a number of non-traditional forms of sculpture, including sound sculpture, light sculpture, environmental art, environmental sculpture, highway art sculpture, kinetic sculpture (involving aspects of physical motion), land art, and site-specific art. Sculpture is an significant form of public art.

A collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden.


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