Bronze has been used as a method of sculpture for over a thousand years. Over the ages, it has been cultivated into an art form that has enchanted many. Antique bronze sculpture is widely collected for its classic beauty and elegance. Read on and learn about the history of bronze sculpture and view a selection of items from our collection.
Bronze has been used as a working sculpture material since the civilizations of the old world. Bronze is actually made of a combination of copper and tin. Ancient sculptures made of bronze have been found from the Greeks, the Chinese, and the Africans. Benin bronzes, sculptures made in the royal Kingdom of Benin in present day Nigeria, are famous for their unique details. Bronze continued to be a popular method of sculpture through the Middle Ages in Germany and Italy.
Bronze continues to be popular because of its versatility and ability to mold into detailed sculptures. Creating life-size sculptures in bronze started with the Ancient Greeks. The Industrial Revolution in Europe rejuvenated the presence of bronze sculpture in the art world. New technologies allowed artists to preserve their subjects forever in bronze. Paris was a center for this art form; budding sculptors studied under master sculptors in the city. With the Neoclassical art movement, bronze and marble sculptures were at the forefront of the fine art world.
Bronze sculptures were often found as additional decoration for buildings and clocks. Common themes of the Neoclassical era are Greek and Roman motifs, nature, and Egyptian-influenced styles. As the 19th century continued, renewed interest in art from the Renaissance era led to sculptures becoming more ornate and detailed. Later 19th century sculptures include motifs of mythological figures, cupids, and intricate designs.
Today, bronzes are collected around the world. A popular bronze sculptor is Auguste Moreau, born in the 19th century. He was part of a family of famed French sculptors. Another popular sculptor is George Lundeen, who is known for creating bronzes of many different subjects, including dancers and astronauts. Western-themed bronzes are increasing in popularity. Frederic Remington, an American artist, is famous for his detailed and marvelous sculptures of cowboys, horses, and ranch life. Signed antique bronzes are widely coveted by collectors.