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Carving Stone July 5, 2015

Posted by anagasto in art.
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The Egyptians used the same chisels as modern sculptors, but theirs were made of bronze.

Bronze seems much too soft for that kind of work. Even a chisel made of tempered iron bends after  a few minutes’ work on hard marble.

egypt the sphinx at giza

And  the Egyptians often sculpted  basalt and granite,  — these are both among the hardest rocks.

The Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx of Giza photographed by Hajor and published under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Egypt.Giza.Sphinx.01.jpg

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tn_453px-sphinx_met_111851

Sphinx photographed by Rosemaniakos from Bejing and published at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sphinx_MET_11.185.jpg under  the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Greeks had iron tools, and they were the same four.

That’s fewer than in any other craft. Until recently, everything else depended on your hands.

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Last century however there were two revolutions in stone cutting technique: the air hammer and the disk saw.  Just now there has been another, the computer, and it shows.

In the past, even large sculptures like Michelangelo’s David had to be polished manually with the help of water and soft stone. Modern sculptures are typically machine made, simplified to make the best of blind machine power and polished to a high gloss with the help of a machine diamond pad.

Here is Brancusi’s egg as an example:

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And here is an invitation to think deep about that egg:

Your meditation will be more successful if you keep in mind that banks and lawyers and CEOs and also small town mayors  do not spend their own money on the art they buy.

The drawing of the perplexed scholar is from a Hans Christian Andersen story in public domain at Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.ca/ebooks/andersen-nightingale/andersen-nightingale-00-h.html

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But sometimes even now sculptors still carve with the same four chisels:

The tool picture is from http://www.sculpt.com/
.sculptor-tools

…….. one is flat like a screwdriver;
…….. another has teeth like a worn-down fork;
…….. a third has a rounded tip like a finger-nail;
…….. and the fourth, for heavy duty, is pointed like a pencil.

In the picture there seem to be more than four, but that is because there are  different sizes of each.

From an anonymous comment below:

You will find professional information at http://www.sculpt.com/
That set includes:
4 tooth chisels
2 points
3 flat chisels
2 specialty chisels
1 rasp
2-1/2-lb. hammer

A helpful reader!

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Cartoon:

The Venus of Milo before …….

On the right, there is a block of marble. On the left, there are some sculptor’s tools. To the sculptor, Venus is inside that marble block.

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Most sculptors are anonymous, and  even if their statues are in the parks and on the plazas of all the great cities, nobody knows their names.

Michelangelo is a singular exception. There are three of his sculptures that many people would remember and recognize from a picture even if they had never been to Italy:

The Pietà

Michelangelo’s Pietà photographed by Stanislav Traykov  under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license  at  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Michelangelo%27s_Pieta_5450.jpg

It is the Western world’s most famous statue and may be the world’s most famous work of art.

Michelangelo made it when he was 23.

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David

The second one is David the shepherd boy thinking while getting ready to meet Goliath. Notice the sling in one of his hands and the stone in the other.

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Moses

The third is Moses holding the stone plates of the Written Law. And those horns.  They are the result of some translation mistake in the Bible texts.

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Sometimes by sculpture you mean artwork  cast in bronze like that Mermaid.  Everyone knows it. They even know where it is and that it is based on a story written by Hans Christian Andersen. But do they know the name of the sculptor?  No.  Do I know it?  No. Never heard of it.

Bronze art is very different from stone sculpture, and the tools used are also different.

The sculptor models a figure in clay or wax and takes it to the foundery, where they make a mold and fill it with liquid bronze.

The tool picture is from http://www.sculpt.com/
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Comments»

1. Anonymous - August 2, 2011

you should put the description of each Tools in carving Stone

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I do not know enough about that. You will find professional information at http://www.sculpt.com/
That set includes:
4 tooth chisels
2 points
3 flat chisels
2 specialty chisels
1 rasp
2-1/2-lb. hammer

2. voir le site - December 21, 2013

I like what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work
and coverage! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you
guys to blogroll.

anagasto - July 5, 2015

Thank you!


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