The sculptor, master of his material

13 January 2009
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Stèle funéraire d’Apinosus Iclius Musée d’archéologie de Saint-Germain-en-Laye © Photo RMN - Gérard Blot


Stone sculpture which has resisted the ravages of time is better known than sculpture in wood, which is perishable, or bronze, which was often melted down for other uses. It decorates the exterior and interior of buildings (temples, palaces, villas, tombs), presented as a frieze, relief, haut-relief or in-the-round. Sculpture comes in various sizes : it may be monumental, life size or reduced to small models of a few centimetres. Ancient sculptors favoured local materials: granite or greywacke in Egypt, marble in Greece, jade in China… Over the centuries, they developed astonishing talent. Mastering techniques, they defied the material and gave it increasingly realistic forms (resembling reality).
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