Sculpture: One Minute Art Lesson | Artopia


Watch a brief animated history of sculpture. 


Sculpture, well, that's three-dimensional art. Sculpture hasheight , width AND depth - three dimensions, like I said - it can be big or small and you can hold it or walk around it or get into it or jump on it or whatever. I mean painters use tricks to make things look round or like they go back aways, but sculpture really, really does!

Artists have been making sculptures since back in the day - nobody even knows when they started -- but for the longest time sculptures were mainly supposed to be like gods and goddesses.

Take Cyprus - that's over by Turkey - they made these awesome tiny stone carvings of like female shapes that were little fertility goddesses and stuff. And in South America way back when in preColumbian times - that's before Columbus and all the Europeans got there - artists made sculptures of their gods and goddesses and sometimes they looked like animals or had animal heads and people bodies. The Egyptians did that too - you know the Sphinx - face of a king and body of a lion, like I said.

But anyway, back to the gods and goddesses - just about everybody everywhere had their own and they made sculptures based on them - like Buddha in China and Japan; Ganesh in India; Ogun in Africa; Ishtar in Mesopotamia (that's the Middle East today); Athena in Greece and on and on and on all over the whole world for centuries and centuries! Awesome!

After about a zillion years went by, in the 17 th , 18th and 19 th centuries, European sculptors looked back at what the old Greeks had made - called Classical sculpture - and they copied it and called it Neo-Classical. Neo means new, you know what I'm sayin'? Also around about this same time they started making sculptures of real people and animals instead of religious figures.

Now maybe you are thinking to yourself, "How did all these sculptors actually make all these sculptures?" Well most of the time they either molded them out of clay, carved them out of stone or wood, or cast them in bronze or some other kind of metal.

But then the 20 th century came along and artists all over the place started making sculptures all kind of crazy ways. Marcel Duchamp, he made a sculpture out of a toilet! Edgar Degas put a real skirt on a bronze ballerina. Alexander Calder found all sorts of little bits of things and made mobiles out of them, and Claes Oldenbergsewed up fabric to make a huge floppy electric light switch.

Nowadays artists still make sculptures out of the same old things they've been using all along, like wood, stone, metal and clay but they also use things like leaves or dust or even just plain beams of light. A pile of rocks or a hole in the ground or a building might be a sculpture. The definition is stretching and stretching every which way - who knows where it will end up!