Throughout the history of civilization man has often made monuments in many varied forms symbolic of the cultures they live in. These monuments are usually represented through arts of architecture, landscaping, painting, and sculpture. These diverse forms of art have their own unique qualities, all of which can be accented with sculpture in some way. As sculpture usually relates closely to the other arts in expression and style, it still relies on all of the social aspects of the society in which it resides for its meaning and purpose.
The three-dimensional and long-lasting qualities contribute to the wide use of sculpture as a cultural expression of the beliefs and ideals of man. Mostly these beliefs are displayed in varied forms such as designs or decorative additions like religious symbols of idols or gods, civic leaders, beings of myth or legend and other figures historically or socially significant to the society in which these creations are found. These images are often fashioned as aesthetic carvings or figures adorning buildings, fountains, jewelry, memorials, housewares, and countless other items both public and private.
Among the many functions of the art, sculptures in their many forms serve as artifacts of the societies they were formed in. These artifacts do a great deal to tell us of the culture of the people--what their government was like, the aspects of daily life, and the religious beliefs of the people.
There exist three categories that define most any sculpture: relief's, linear, and full-round, which are classified by their appearance. These categories each have different limitations: full-round can be viewed from any angle, relief's are one sided sculptures projecting from a surface, whereas linear deals with materials such as pipe or wires, or other numerous other objects, resulting in a two-dimensional appearance.
Sculptors often add texture to their work through the use of different materials that can be pounded, molded,...
Bibliography: Kelly, James J., The Sculptural Idea, 3rd ed. (Waveland Press 1991)
Verhelst, Wilbert, Sculpture: Tools, Materials, and Techniques, 2nd ed. (Prentice-Hall 1988)
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