European Wood Carving

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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European wood carving is virtually indiscernible from modern American wood carving. The building materials, tools, techniques, and finishes are all identical. The differences are more apparent in antique carvings, where European woodworkers tend toward a more ornate style.

The European tradition is also marked by more religious iconography, a result of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches' reign over the continent for the past two millennia. But there's also a fantasy element to European wood carving, which is populated by fearsome dragons and other mythological creatures whose power is readily captured through wood relief.

European Wood Carving Today

Thanks to the Internet, most of today's leading European master wood carvers sell their creations worldwide. No longer are collectors forced to travel abroad to hunt down rare sculptures to fit their Mediterranean- or Bavarian-themed decor. With just a few mouse clicks it's possible to find a world-renowned artist and commission a piece in no time. You can even pay for it online and never have any sort of contact with the worker you've contracted.

For site-specific work, however, it's probably best to find a carver in your area so that he or she can personally visit the area. Installations can be tricky, and even if you have reliable digital photographs it can be hard to capture the nuances of a given site. If you're already familiar with the sort of statue or furniture you want, there's really no drawback to shopping online. In many cases, you can even save yourself money by dealing directly with an artist as opposed to hiring one from a retail store that's forced to cover its overhead.


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