Bronze Sculpture Gallery – The Best Bronze Statues
28 May, 2020
28 May, 2020
Bronze Sculpture – Everything You Need To Know
1. What is a Bronze Sculpture?
2. Lost-wax Casting: Making a Bronze Sculpture in 12 Steps
3. History of Bronze Sculpture
4. Different Types of Bronze Sculpture
4.1 Hot Cast Bronze
4.2 Bronze Resin
5. Top Three Things to Look out for When Buying Bronze Sculpture
6. Forest Gallery Bronze Sculpture Artists
What is a Bronze Sculpture?
A bronze sculpture is a three-dimensional piece of art created from molten bronze. Bronze is an alloy of the two metal elements copper and tin, and although strict ratios must be used in the modern day to qualify as ‘bronze’, the ratio has varied in the past.
Bronze statues are made via a process known as casting. This involves pouring the molten metal into a suitable mould and leaving it to cool and solidify. Below we look at the process of creating a bronze sculpture in more detail.
Lost-wax Casting: Making a Bronze Sculpture in 12 Steps
Making the mould – once the sculptor is happy with the design a silicone rubber mould is made of the artwork. This will be the master mould used to originate all castings of the piece of art.
Making the Wax Casting – molten wax is poured into the silicone mould to create a wax duplicate of the artwork
Chasing the Wax – the wax is removed from the silicone mould and any flaws such as air bubbles are addressed by a skilled craftsman
Spruing – once the wax is back to the quality of the original sculpture, it’s time to attach a series of wax rods called sprues. These sprues serve as channels to allow the bronze to flow successfully into all areas of the mould when the final ceramic mould is made. A funnel is also added to allow wax to be lost and for bronze to be poured in.
Investment – it’s now time to create the final mould in which bronze will be poured. This is done by dipping the wax model carefully into investment liquid and then covering it in a fine powder before allowing it to cure (completely dry). This process is repeated using coarse ceramic powder to eventually build up a rigid shell around the wax model.
Burn-Out (Lost Wax) – the shell with its wax inside is now fired in a kiln. At this stage, the wax melts out the pour hole, the funnel added earlier. It is “lost” from the ceramic shell. You are now left with a highly detailed, heavy-duty ceramic mold that is ready to receive the molten bronze.
Casting – once the ceramic mould has been removed from the kiln, molten bronze heated to 1200°C is poured into it and left to cool.
Break Out – once the casting has sufficiently cooled the mould is carefully removed from the bronze model inside. This step can require a significant amount of force as the ceramic mould can be tough and often sledgehammers are needed.
Sandblasting – any remaining fragments of ceramic are removed by blasting fine silicone particles at the model. The sprues which are now cast in bronze are also removed.
Chasing – any weld marks left by assembling sections of a sculpture together are removed and rod marks are chased and re-detailed by hand to match the rest of the bronze surface.
Patination – the bronze is heated and chemical patina is applied by the artist. This is usually a mix of oxides and nitrate and the effect is determined by a number of different factors including heat, saturation of oxides and method of application.
Numbering – the final stage of the process is to number the bronze sculpture according to the casting number and where necessary for limited edition pieces, an edition number.
Below is a detailed demonstration of the twelve listed steps in creating bronze statues using the lost wax casting method.
History of Bronze Sculpture
Bronze was first created around 5,000 years ago in an era we now know as the Bronze Age. In this time the material was used to create tools and weapons, though it was not long before humans began using the material to create other articles. The Dancing Girl is the earliest article of bronze art or bronze sculpture currently known and dates back to around 2500BC.
From this period on the Greeks were the first civilisation to scale up the creation of bronze statues to lifesize, though unfortunately few examples remain asides from the heavily restored Victorious Youth or Atleta di Fano. From the Roman era onwards however there are many more surviving bronze statues, including those from ancient Chinese civilisations and dynasties through to the sophisticated bronze sculpture of South India from the 9th to the 13th century.
Different Types of Bronze Sculpture
Hot Cast Bronze
The majority of fine art pieces identified as ‘bronze’ are solid and with this tend to weigh a considerable amount. These may be referred to as foundry cast bronze, hot cast bronze or simply solid bronze. They are made with the lost wax casting process as described in the 12 steps above. The process of making these requires considerable skill and equipment and owes in part to the prestige of the finished article.
Cold cast bronze or bronze resin is made by pouring polyester, epoxy or another resin into a mould. Each piece is identical having been formed from the same shell, and a bronze powder is added to the resin or applied to the sculpture afterwards. Because there is no spruing or investment process involved, and the raw materials are cheaper, bronze resin pieces are less expensive than solid bronze sculptures.
Our range of Suzie Marsh sculptures are made with bronze resin and offer an affordable alternative to solid bronze sculptures.
Below is a tutorial of how to create a bronze resin sculpture as described above.
Top Three Things to Look out for When Buying Bronze Sculpture
When parting with hard-earned cash to buy a bronze sculpture it’s important to know what you are paying for. To ensure you know what you are getting, be careful to check the following elements.
Authenticity – this can be done through several ways but most simply involves purchasing from a recognised retailer such as a fine art gallery and having a certificate of authenticity. Check out our guidelines for more information on purchasing authentic artwork.
Material – verifying the sculpture is made from bronze when it is sold as such can be done by checking if it is heavy or cool to the touch, with the opposite of these two attributes signalling the piece is made from a different material.
Edition – if the piece is described as being limited edition, this means there is a restricted number of sculptures certified to be cast. In this case, there will be an engraved marking identifying an edition number e.g. ‘6/75’. Alternatively, a sculpture may be unlimited, meaning there is no restriction to the number of pieces that can be produced and a number will not be detailed on the artwork.
Forest Gallery Bronze Sculpture Artists
Here at Forest Gallery we have a great selection of bronze sculptures ranging from small, affordable teddy bears to larger statement pieces. To browse the full selection of bronze sculptures available from our artists see our shop page or head to the artist pages of Michael Simpson, Keith Sherwin, David Geenty, Grant Palmer and Suzie Marsh.
To see one of our most popular bronze sculpture artists, Keith Sherwin, click below.
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