Art is all around us. It is paintings, murals, buildings, poetry, books and the spoken word. One art form that is very much unique is sculpture. By forming an appreciation of sculpture we can examine different ideas in a level of depth perhaps not possible, or at least not as accessible, in other art forms.
Take the example of Michelangelo’s statue “David”. This statue depicts physical perfection but unlike a painting the sculpture is almost as real as the person would be. This is also true in that the statue is life-sized again pushing our imaginations to see David as Michelangelo imagined him as a real person. This pushes the boundaries of what an artist can do and the effect they can have on the person viewing the sculpture.
Although a sculpture is usually stationary another idea that can be conveyed through it is movement and other properties. The famous painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts created the famous piece “physical energy”. This depicts a horse and rider and the sculpture resides in the Watt’s Gallery in England. Three bronze casts of the sculpture have been made and are located in London, Cape Town and Harare. The enormous full scale horse and rider symbolizes energy suspended in time. The piece, although stationary, is created to convey the concept of movement, strength and enormous power.
Sculpture of course can be touched. Unlike paintings and films we can put our hands on sculpture and take on another level of understanding from the work. The works of Henry Moore are often over-size works on public display with undulating gentle curves and sometimes very vague depictions of the human form. People love touching the surface of these sometimes mysterious works and trying to fathom out what the artistic was fully trying to convey.
Sculpture involves the viewer on a whole new level. The artist also may not have been an individual. The world famous Elgin Marbles, or Parthenon Marbles, were created by citizens of Athens under the watchful eye of the architect and sculptor Phidias. Sculpture is as versatile an art form as any other and perhaps when we look at the power of the pieces we could even say that it is more powerful than most.