04 Mar Brilliant bronze: the history of the bronze sculpture

All over the world, big bronze sculptures can be found, often surrounded by admiring tourists looking up to likenesses of famous or celebrated icons. Last year, Big Statues celebrated the one year anniversary of the unveiling of a seven foot bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi which resides within a beautiful memorial park in Davie, Florida. The incredible likeness of the statue to its subject is one of the reasons that this particular sculpture is so engaging and evocative. This is the case for many big bronze sculptures. Indeed, bronze has historically been chosen for sculptures and statues because of its ability to be molded in great detail, allowing for individuals to be depicted in an extremely life-like fashion.

The possibility of creating detail when working with bronze has been known and utilized for centuries, the great civilizations of ancient times setting the precedent for making art from this well used metal. The Greeks are thought to have been the first to scale up bronze statues to life sized representations of renowned people. This practice remains in existence today, as seen in the numerous big bronze sculptures created by Big Statues’ sculptor, Matt Glenn. Despite the vast changes the world has seen since Greek times, bronze is still the most popular metal for cast sculptures. It is the property of expanding marginally just prior to setting firm that allows bronze to fill the smallest and finest details of a mold. This means that the individual physical characteristics of those we choose to remember in the form of sculpture can be captured and preserved for very long periods of time.

It is important to note that bronze has not always only been used to create big bronze sculptures. Bronze is also incredibly popular for the creation of musical instruments and medals. Bronze too, remains a commonly used metal for building ship propellers and submerged bearings. However, the widespread personification of bronze in sculptures and statues means it is often best known for existing in these particular forms. The Assyrian King, Sennacherib who lived around 704-681 BC, claimed to have been the first to create bronze statues, weighing purportedly up to 30 tons. Of course, this claim is difficult to prove or disprove, particularly as many big bronze sculptures from ancient times have not survived into the modern day.

As exemplified by the recent creation of Florida’s Mahatma Gandhi statue, as well as the existence of thousands of other big bronze sculptures around the world, bronze continues into the modern world as an ideal metal for commemorating those important to us. Those interested in preserving the vision of a renowned figure from their own community would be well served by one of the talented Big Statues sculptors who create many fantastically detailed customized pieces for individuals around the globe.

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