The Technique of Early Greek Sculpture

The Technique of Early Greek Sculpture

The Technique of Early Greek Sculpture

The Technique of Early Greek Sculpture

Excerpt

A study of the technique of a particular period of art is not necessarily a dull cataloguing of methods and tricks and conventions. The way in which a statue is made may, indeed, afford no little insight into the mind of the maker. For technical methods are bound to affect the style and outlook of the artist and so lead to modifications in his aesthetic intention. If technique is limited and poverty-stricken, then style will be equally limited and perhaps equally poverty- stricken. Invention in technical methods, on the other hand, can encourage freedom of style, though if that invention become too fertile it may lead the artist to prefer technical perfection to everything else. And this has, in fact, happened in every important period of artistic activity.

The intention of this book is to examine in the fullest detail the various technical methods used by the Greeks in the making of stone and bronze statues in order that the reactions of style upon technique and of technique upon style may be established and analysed. In the process some important chronological results emerge. If the date of the introduction of certain tools into the full use of the sculptor can be established, it follows that valuable chronological data are at once available. I have attempted in the following pages to make it clear what research is possible on these lines.

It is obvious that a work of art cannot be taken as a fait accompli if any critical study of it is to be made. It must be looked at both from the point of view of its maker and of those who behold it. The tendency for many years past has been to look at Greek sculpture from the purely historical point of view and to disregard the methods employed in its construction by Greek sculptors. This leads to fruitful results and, coupled with a balanced judgement of style and a critical analysis of stylistic qualities, to a satisfactory consideration of the whole affair. But it still leaves the sculptors . . .

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