Greek Sculpture: Its Spirit and Principles

By Edmund Von Mach | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE PRINCIPLES OF GREEK RELIEF SCULPTURE

The thoughtful consideration of the needs of human nature which characterizes the best Greek works is nowhere better seen than in relief sculpture.

All relief sculpture may be divided into two large classes, exhibiting great technical differences. The artist may, in the first place, design and carve his figures on a block of stone of which he hews away as much as he likes in order to bring out the contours. He begins on the front plane, beyond which no figure may project, and pays no attention to a uniform depth of background. This kind of relief may be called the carved relief.

In the other kind, which originated when the sculptors no longer worked upon the marble itself but made their first designs in clay, the figures are modeled separately and attached to one uniform and unifying background. A profile view reveals the entire absence of a common front plane. Eventually these models may be carved in marble or be cast in bronze, but owing to their origin, and in order to distinguish them from the other kind, they are best called the modeled reliefs

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