Revival and Invention: Sculpture through its Material Histories
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Materials may seem to be sculpture’s most obvious aspect. Traditionally seen as a means to an end, and frequently studied in terms of technical procedures, their intrinsic meaning often remains unquestioned. Yet materials comprise a field rich in meaning, bringing into play a wide range of issues crucial to our understanding of sculpture. This book places materials at the centre of our approach to sculpture, examining their symbolic and aesthetic language, their abstract and philosophical associations, and the ways in which they reveal the political, economic and social contexts of sculptural practice. Spanning a chronology from antiquity through to the end of the nineteenth century, the essays collected in this book uncover material properties as fundamental to artistic intentionality.
real drapery, but whose heads and limbs were of shimmering white marbles.27 Sculptors like Pheidias and Leochares worked in both modes, akrolithic and chryselephantine. The taste for akroliths, or statues in mixed marbles, continued unabated into the Roman era, with the finest white marbles like Parian once again substituting the ivory of the earlier statues. A number of these survive, many of colossal dimensions and clearly inspired by Greek originals or made by Greek sculptors: for example,
both ‘responds’ and ‘corresponds’ (that is both ‘answers’ and ‘matches’); imago can mean both ‘ef figy’ and ‘likeness’. Lygdus = Parian. 59 Getty Aphrodite: 2.2 m high, Poros limestone and Parian marble, pigment traces on limestone, stolen from Morgantina in Sicily and now (2009) in the process of restitution: Clemente Marconi, ‘Una dea da Morgantina a Malibu’, Kalós. Arte in Sicilia (2) 2007, pp. 4–9, who supports an identification with Persephone. For the provenance and lithotypes: Summary of
Fabio Barry oijkiva tou� Parivou): Denys L. Page, Greek Literary Papyri, 2 vols, London: 75 76 77 78 79 80 W. Heinemann, 1942, vol. 1, pp. 472–73. The Alcmaeonids rebuilt the temple of Apollo at Delphi ‘more splendidly than the plans of the architect showed [and] whereas the building was to be of local stone, they carried out the frontal elevation in Parian marble’ (548 BC; Herodotus 5.62). Suet., Aug. 94.4–5, 70.1; Hor., Carm. 4.2; 4.5. Propertius 2.31.1–3, 9–12; Velleius Paterculus
of known examples. For the association of the wax image with the marvelous art of miniaturisation, see Goettler, ‘Wachs und Interdisziplinarität’, pp. 147–48. As noted above, n. 25, according to Vivio’s biographer Salvatore Massonio, the Roman senate wanted to display his relief on the Campidoglio as one of the ‘marvels’ of Rome. Matter Without Qualities? Wax in Giacomo Vivio’s Discorso of 1590 119 5.1. Ambrogio Brambilla, Il vero ritratto della mirabil’opera di basso rilievo di cera
which is modelling the bodies in relief in clay’ (‘Non basta allo scultore disegnare semplicemente, ma gli conviene inoltrarsi in maggiore fatica che è il modellare di terra li corpi di rilievo’). Later, he simply stated that: ‘modelling is only imitating relief with relief ’ (‘modellare non è altro che imitare il rilievo col rilievo’).16 Given the relatively small number of examples that have survived, and the lack of eye-witness accounts of the techniques used by sculptors, we are unable to