A Brief History of the Art in Bronze
Click here for our Bronze Headstones
The creation of works of art in bronze is one of the most ancient and widespread art forms. For over 4,000 years, bronze has played an important role in art. Bronze tools revolutionized the arts of wood working and stone working. This metal also served as a new medium for artists.
The use of bronze for statues, coins and decorative articles dates back to approximately 3000 B.C. Bronze working continued through the 10th and 11th centuries in China, India, Egypt, Greece, France, Germany and Italy.
Bronze was a prominent metal in Chinese art. The earliest Chinese works in any form are in bronze. There are numerous examples of bronze work from the 14th century B.C. Early Chinese bronzes are of great value for their aesthetic appeal, decoration, patina, beauty of form and for their documentary value as historical records. The lost-wax process was developed in China during the Shang Dynasty in 2000 B.C. Most Chinese bronzes were produced by the lost-wax method and inlay work was customary. Bronze figure casting began with Buddhism and starting in the Sun period (960-1279 A.D.), numerous bronze sculptures were created.
The Etruscans made extensive use of bronze and were highly skilled in its working. The Romans made considerable advances in the technical aspects of bronze casting - particularly the use of prefabricated parts and in methods of joining bronze castings. During the centuries between the fall of the Roman Empire and the first years of the Romanesque period (c. 1000 A.D.), stone was used more frequently than bronze for sculpture. The Carolinian Renaissance of the 9th century marked the return of bronze. In the 10th century, during the Ottoman Period, bronze was used extensively.
Bronze was primarily used for architectural features during the Renaissance in Italy. The future of bronze sculpture was greatly influenced in 1432 by Donatello's decision to cast his work of David in bronze. The statue of David was the first freestanding nude statue created since classical times. A school for bronze sculptors was established at Padua in the 15th century by followers of Donatello.
In France during the 16th century, bas-relief was the predominant form of bronze work. From 1400 to 1800 A.D., the Benin culture, which inhabited southern Nigeria, produced beautiful bronze ritual objects known as Benin bronzes. The 16th and 17th centuries were high points for bronze carving in west Africa. Bronze statuettes were abundant.
Gilt bronze was very popular in the late 17th and 18th centuries. In 1788, a process of founding with sand was invented in France which became as popular as the lost-wax method of hollow casting. In the 18th century, bronze sculpture was produced on a more modest scale. Antoine Louis Barye, a great animal sculptor, created some of the finest bronzes of the century.
The use of bronze in art declined during the 19th and 20th centuries. Direct carving became the preferred form in the early part of the 20th century.Today, cast bronze is unchallenged in the fine arts as a medium especially for freestanding sculpture. The durability and lightness of bronze make it preferable to stone or wood in many types of work. Bronze sculpture offers a freedom of conception, which is impossible in stone.
See all your Headstones choices
MEMORIALS.com: Your Premier Online Source for all your Funeral and Memorial needs. We live up to our name and reputation our staff is standing by to assist you, all products with No Sales Tax & Free Delivery.