Bronze Art

Written by Patty Yu
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People have been making bronze art for thousands of years, from bronze sculptures to swords and jewelry. Traditional bronze art is made of an alloy of 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin. Modern methods utilize a mixture of 95 percent copper and five percent silicon. Made well, a bronze statue will hold up beautifully, as evidenced by many sculptures from thousands of years ago found in pristine condition.

How to Make Bronze Art

Making a bronze art statue takes time, craft, and care. The first step an artist must take is to create a full-sized model out of clay or wax. Just sculpting the clay may take weeks to finish, since it must be made to reflect all the intricacies desired on the bronze sculpture. A rubber mold is made of the model, sometimes in several pieces, depending on the complexity of the piece.

Wax is poured in and out of the mold several times to create a hollow wax model, onto which a ceramic coating is applied. This ceramic covered wax is fired at 2,000° F, which sets the ceramic and melts the wax. Finally, the resulting ceramic shell is filled with molten bronze, which once cooled, is the final piece. The ceramic must be cut off, along with runners and spews that were placed to help the molten bronze flow through the mold.

Once the bronze has cooled and hardened, artists polish and sandblast the piece. To create the same beautiful coloring that very old bronze sculptures achieve through years of oxidation, modern artists apply chemicals to duplicate the desired patina. With all the steps involved, you can see how making a bronze art piece would require much time and commitment from the artist or artists involved.

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