Bronze Statuary

Written by Patty Yu
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It is common to find bronze statuary placed prominently outside of a building or in an atrium. Bronze statues are elegant three-dimensional pieces of art that are made with intricate detail. An artist must work hard to produce a bronze statuary in an artistic and aesthetically appealing form. Many bronze statues are made to accurately represent people or animals, but some are made abstractly.

How Bronze Is Cast

When making a bronze statuary, an artist must first spend a few weeks sculpting the subject out of clay. This clay representation must be the same size as the desired end product and it must include every last detail. Making the clay model is just the first in a series of steps to cast bronze art. In the next step, the artist creates a rubber mold from the clay model.

In order to make the first mold, the artist must apply layers of rubber to the clay. A plaster is also applied so the rubber mold is rigid. This mold is usually made in two pieces and later attached before use to make the next model. The second model made from the rubber mold is usually a wax representation. After hardening, the wax is "chased," which is the process of removing small imperfections like bubbling.

The wax model is then used to create a final ceramic mold by dipping the model several times into a material, which hardens when fired in a kiln at 2,000° F or higher. All the wax melts and the remaining ceramic shell is the final mold. Molten bronze melted at a foundry is then poured into the ceramic shell and allowed to cool. After chasing the resulting bronze sculpture, the bronze statuary is mounted and ready to go.

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