A sculpture as a voluminous object has three dimensions: height, width and depth. The sculptor creates his works with various materials and basic techniques: modeling (using soft materials - clay, wax, plaster), sculpturing (from solid materials - marble, stone, wood), casting (casting and metalsmithing).
The earliest were stone sculptures created by the ancient man in an attempt to embody their vision of the surrounding world. The era of great ancient civilizations was also marked by creation of magnificent stone sculptures. Until ancient times, sculptures were made of clay, limestone, gypsum, and jade.
The most popular material used by sculptors of the Renaissance and the Baroque period was marble. Although marble sculpture existed in Ancient Greece and Rome, it is with these two periods that this more expensive material is associated. The most famous sculptures of the Renaissance were created in Italy.
The main materials for making metal sculptures are gold, silver, bronze, copper, brass, iron and tin alloy.
Porcelain figurines have been considered as a special sign of luxury since ancient times. Figures from porcelain were first created in the homeland of this material - in China. In medieval Europe porcelain was valued equally with precious metal.
There are the following types of sculpture: round and relief, and -depending on the purpose - monumental, monumental-decorative and indoor sculpture. Round sculpture is a three-dimensional work intended for circular viewing (bust, statue, figurine, sculptural group, small statuary). The relief sculpture is created with the help of volumes protruding from the background and is divided into several types: low relief, high relief, hollow relief and cavo-relievo. The monumental sculpture is big in size and is created for a specific architectural and spatial environment (obelisks, monuments). The choice of material for the production of sculptures of this type depends on the environment. We know that wood sculpture of ancient Slavs was carving huge idols. European masters preferred bronze sculpture. The monumental-decorative type is used in designs of facades and interiors of buildings, bridges, fountains, parks (garden-park sculpture). Nowadays garden sculpture is used in landscape design. Indoor sculpture is independent and intended to be viewed from a close distance.
The art of sculpture is inextricably linked with historical context. If the sculpture of the classical era blended with the interior, the realistic sculpture of the 19th century becomes independent. Realism was a form of response to romantic and classical idealization, as well as to the rejection of generally accepted academic norms. By the end of the 19th century academism succumbed to other styles altogether, mostly modern. Sculptors go into endless search combining all sorts of styles and trying to find their own. In the first half of the 20th century such a trend was formed as abstractionism or non-subject art. There are two main directions: geometric abstraction and lyrical. Minimalism became the extreme expression of geometric abstraction in the sculpture. The avant-garde sculpture is characterized by interweaving of various trends, experiments and innovative principles. The space becomes a composite element that reflects the ideological component of the sculpture.
Sculptors of the 21st century are looking for new forms and using non-standard techniques. Modern sculptures impress with variety and originality of the materials: you can find works made of paper, wire, glass, butter, acrylic paint. There are sculptures moving under the influence of wind or motor, as well as glowing ones. There are unique works with light, which are created by putting one acrylic sculpture into another. Despite the originality of contemporary sculptures sculptors of today are striving more to shock the audience than to surprise them with his mastery.