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Sculptures are artistic expressions of great beauty and sensitivity, where the sculptor transmits his art through explicit, metaphorical, abstract works, etc., made in different materials, sizes and styles.

If there is one thing that characterises sculptures, it is their versatility, as you can find them in an infinite variety of designs, formats and themes, according to the taste and inspiration of the author. Like all art, sculptures have a subjective beauty that is directly related to the preferences of each person.

Throughout this article we will tell you about the most important characteristics of sculptures, so that you can get to know their main features and choose the one that is perfect for you. Discover the wonderful world that surrounds these magnificent creations!




Summary

  • Sculptures are works of art made by sculptors, who create them through different techniques and with different raw materials. Sculptures can have different themes, designs, sizes and formats, according to the author's style.
  • Among the many types of sculptures, you can find religious, civil and abstract variants, which differ from each other mainly by their themes, designs, style, functions and materials, among other important aspects.
  • When purchasing a sculpture, it is important that you take into account certain relevant factors, such as their different types and varieties, styles, materials and techniques, among other particularities that will help you at the time of purchase.

The Best Sculpture: Our Picks

In this ranking you will find a list of the best-selling and top-rated sculptures on the internet, so that you can compare them and choose the variant that is perfect for you, depending on your style, interests, budget and personal preferences.

Buying Guide: What you need to know about Sculptures

In this buying guide you will find useful and relevant information about the product you are interested in buying. Therefore, we will tell you about the main features of sculptures, including their advantages and those not so favourable or positive aspects of them.

Sculptures are artistic works of great beauty and sensitivity, created with different techniques and materials. (Photo: Diego Vito Cervo / 123rf.com)

What are sculptures and what are their advantages?

Sculptures are works made with different types of materials (such as stone, wood, clay, clay, cement, iron, copper, gold, etc.) in which the artist (specifically the sculptor) carves, moulds, sculpts or chisels these raw materials to give them the desired shape and appearance.

There are small sculptures and monuments or gigantic artistic constructions. These can be the sculptor's own creations or imitations, which display different themes and include different characters: animals, humans, objects, landscapes, abstract figures, etc.

Among their many advantages, sculptures stand out for being a magnificent artistic expression like painting, music, dance or other arts, where the author expresses a message through beauty, talent and sensitivity. These works remain to be admired and remembered, like many emblematic sculptures.

Advantages
  • They are an artistic expression of great beauty and sensitivity
  • They provide a direct or metaphorical message
  • They deal with an infinite number of themes
  • They are made with different techniques and materials
  • There are small and giant sculptures
  • There is a great variety of designs and styles
Disadvantages
  • Some sculptures are extremely expensive
  • Some cannot be moved because of their weight and size
  • Some sculptures are too fragile

Religious, civil or abstract sculptures - what should you look out for?

As previously mentioned, there is a wide variety of sculptures oriented towards different themes, such as religion, civilian themes or abstract figures. In the following, we will detail the characteristics of each of these artistic variants.

Religious sculptures

These sculptures are usually replicas of different deities or saints of different religions or creeds. They can be exhibited in religious or public places, and are made of different materials and sizes.

Religious sculptures can represent symbols (such as the Catholic cross, the Star of David, etc.) or concrete figures (Christ, Buddha, saints, virgins, Egyptian, Hindu, Aztec, Roman deities, etc.). They can be works of art to admire or to pray and render devotion, thanksgiving or supplication.

Civil sculptures

Civil sculptures refer to representative characters of a nation, due to their participation in different political, social or cultural events. They are usually made of bronze or stone and displayed in public spaces (mainly squares).

In general, these sculptures pay homage to heroes or heroes of history, such as politicians or soldiers (who are usually on their horses), although they can also depict symbolic objects that represent thoughts or ideologies (fists, wings, etc.).

Abstract sculptures

Abstract sculptures are characterised by the fact that they have no concrete meaning, i.e. their form is not comparable to known shapes, so we cannot associate them with any specific element or character as is the case with other types of sculptures.

The main aim of these modern or avant-garde works is to transmit sensations, emotions and ideas to the spectator, starting from a subjective and unconventional point of view; therefore, the messages will be transmitted in a metaphorical or subliminal way, but never in an evident way.

Religious Civil Abstract
Themes Of a religious nature Of a social, political, cultural nature, etc. Metaphorical messages on various subjects
Objects or characters Saints, deities, religious figures Prophets, characters or symbols representative of a nation or culture Figures without a specific meaning, but metaphorical or subliminal
Materials most commonly used Plaster, marble, wood, etc. Bronze, stone, etc. Iron, acrylic, etc.
Style Conservative, generally Variable Modern, avant-garde, minimalist
Places where they are most commonly found Religious sites (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.) Public spaces (mainly squares) Museums, art galleries
Main functions Works to admire, and to render devotion, thanksgiving or supplication Works to admire, to know, to be informed, to reflect, etc. Works to admire and see beyond the obvious

Can I buy replicas of famous sculptures?

The art of sculpting was born thousands of years ago, giving life to the most fantastic works of art in the world, many of which are preserved in museums or public spaces. Here are some of the most famous sculptures (although we're sure there are many more to come!), replicas of which you can buy to decorate your home.

  • "The Moses": This sculpture was made by none other than Michelangelo, one of the most incredible artists of all times, in 1509. This Renaissance work, made in white marble, is considered one of the most realistic and perfect artistic creations of all time.
  • "The Thinker": This sculpture, also known as "The Poet", was made by the French artist Auguste Rodin between 1881 and 1882, becoming one of the most famous works of art in the world. It is a representation of the Italian writer Dante Alighieri, which can be seen in the Rodin Museum in Paris.
  • "Venus de Milo": This Greek sculpture of enormous beauty, also known as "Aphrodite of Milos", was found half-buried on an island in Greece in 1820. Since then it has been one of the most famous and valued works of art in the world (which you can admire in the Louvre Museum in Paris).
  • "The David": Another work of the brilliant Michelangelo, sculpted between 1504 and 1505 in carrara marble. It is undoubtedly one of the most renowned sculptures in the world for its perfection and realism, which can be admired in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy.
  • "Christ the Redeemer: This is a sculpture built in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is characterised by its imposing size, measuring 38 metres high and weighing 1200 tons (making it the largest art deco work in the world). It was considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

In the market you can find a great variety and assortment of sculptures of different sizes, materials and styles. (Photo: Carlos Santos / 123rf.com)

Purchasing Criteria

In this final section of the article we will discuss the purchasing criteria you should consider when buying a sculpture, as these works of art can be found in a variety of styles, designs and materials. This information will help you to choose the perfect sculpture for you.

Types

There are different types of sculptures that determine their appearance and style. Here are two of the most common variants so that you can get to know their main characteristics and peculiarities and choose the one that best suits your preferences and personal style.

Round sculpture

These sculptures are three-dimensional; that is to say, they can be observed from all angles and perspectives, as they are worked and sculpted on all sides and do not adhere or lean against the wall. They can have different sizes, formats, materials and styles.

Relief sculpture

Unlike round sculptures, relief sculptures are carved on a flat surface, so they only have a protruding front. You can see them on plaques placed on walls in public spaces, or on government, historical, antique, etc. buildings.

The sculptures are made with different techniques, according to the style of the work and the materials used. (Photo: khunaspix / 123rf.com)

Other variants

Apart from the above-mentioned types of sculptures, there are other variants of these artistic works. Below, we will describe their most important particularities so that you can get to know their main characteristics and take them into account when making your purchase.

  • Busts: Busts are human representations that include head, shoulders and part of the chest. These works, which are usually found in squares and other public spaces in homage to historical figures, can also be found in other variants made of different materials.
  • Torsos: As the name suggests, torsos sculptures comprise just that: the human torso, without arms, legs or head. These artistic works, typical of ancient Greece, are usually made of plaster or stone, although there are variants made of other materials.
  • Statues: Statues, unlike busts and torsos, comprise the entire human body. You can find replicas of famous people, patriotic heroes, saints and deities, etc., which are usually made of stone, cement and wood, among many other raw materials.

Styles

Sculptures are designed in multiple styles, related to the tastes of the sculptor and to certain historical periods or specific cultures. Here are just a few (there are so many!) of the styles of sculptures you can find.

Renaissance sculptures

They are usually made of plaster or marble and inspired by the Greco-Roman style. If you like the most elegant, fine and delicate style, you will love these works of art, mainly characterised by their realism, beauty and perfection.

Pre-Columbian sculptures

These predate Christopher Columbus' arrival in America, and mainly represent Aztec and Mayan culture. These artistic works (which have a strong religious, cultural and political component) will delight you if your style is more artisanal, as they are usually made of mud or clay.

Chinese sculptures

These sculptures (made of stone, bronze, paper, etc.) depict Chinese art and culture, focusing on gods, Buddhas, characteristic mythological beings such as dragons, and historical figures such as rulers or soldiers. If you are looking for versatile and exotic works, these variants may be ideal for you.

Materials

Sculptures are made from a multitude of materials that determine their appearance, style, quality, resistance, technique, etc. Below, we will describe the characteristics of some of the raw materials used to make these beautiful works of art.

  • Clay sculptures: Clay sculptures are characteristic of the pre-Columbian style, typical of Latin American culture. Because they are not usually large in size, they are ideal as a decorative element for small places (although they are also somewhat fragile and delicate).
  • Wooden sculptures: Wood is a material widely used for the elaboration of sculptures due to its versatility (as it is easily carved and does not need a subsequent decoration process). You should be careful not to leave these sculptures outdoors (unless they have an insulating product).
  • Stone sculptures: Stone is also a raw material that can be worked with different techniques, which is why it is widely used for sculptures. This material is adaptable to all kinds of styles and decorations, and offers great resistance and durability.

Other raw materials

In addition to the materials previously mentioned, there are sculptures made with many other raw materials, which give them a very colourful and personal appearance. Below, we will mention some of them so that you can get to know their main characteristics.

Concrete sculptures

Concrete is a relatively new material for the construction of sculptures, characterised by its strength and durability. These works are usually large in size and scope, so you will not be able to place them in a very small place as a decorative element.

Iron sculptures

Iron is a material that has been used since ancient times (starting with the Greeks) to make various types of sculptures. Like concrete, these works are usually larger in size, so you will need a large space to place them.

Ice sculptures

Ice is perhaps one of the strangest, but at the same time most novel and original materials for making different types of sculptures. It will be quite difficult to keep a work with these characteristics in your home, unless you want to keep it in the freezer.

There are extremely novel, original and eye-catching sculptures, made with very unconventional materials. (Photo: Natallia Khlapushyna / 123rf.com)

Techniques

There are several techniques for shaping sculptures

There are different techniques for working and shaping sculptures, which are mainly related to the materials and the style of the works. Below, we will tell you which are the most used techniques to elaborate these beautiful artistic creations.

  • Carving: Carving is one of the most used techniques since ancient times for the elaboration of different types of sculptures (in which tools such as chisel and sandpaper, among other instruments, are used). If you like rustic works with different lattices, this technique will make you fall in love with it.
  • Casting: Casting, as its name suggests, involves melting a material in order to be able to work it more easily, as is the case with metal. You can find sculptures made of plaster or resin that have this elaboration process, in which moulds are used to give it the desired shape.
  • Moulding: This is done manually, shaping the sculptures with your hands (although the final details can be done with tools such as sandpaper or chisels). If you like sculptures made of soft materials such as clay, mud or plasticine, you will see that they are made by moulding.

(Featured image photo: Maitree Boonkitphuwadon / 123rf.com)

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