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Like many pieces it was originally partly coloured. The Lewis chessmen are well-preserved examples of small ivories, of which many pieces or fragments remain from croziers , plaques, pectoral crosses and similar objects. The Gothic period is essentially defined by Gothic architecture , and does not entirely fit with the development of style in sculpture in either its start or finish.

The facades of large churches, especially around doors, continued to have large typanums, but also rows of sculpted figures spreading around them. These trends were continued in the west portal at Reims Cathedral of a few years later, where the figures are almost in the round, as became usual as Gothic spread across Europe. In Italy Nicola Pisano — and his son Giovanni developed a style that is often called Proto-Renaissance , with unmistakable influence from Roman sarcophagi and sophisticated and crowded compositions, including a sympathetic handling of nudity, in relief panels on their pulpit of Siena Cathedral —68 , the Fontana Maggiore in Perugia , and Giovanni's pulpit in Pistoia of Tilman Riemenschneider , Veit Stoss and others continued the style well into the 16th century, gradually absorbing Italian Renaissance influences.

Life-size tomb effigies in stone or alabaster became popular for the wealthy, and grand multi-level tombs evolved, with the Scaliger Tombs of Verona so large they had to be moved outside the church.

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By the 15th century there was an industry exporting Nottingham alabaster altar reliefs in groups of panels over much of Europe for economical parishes who could not afford stone retables. Types of ivories included small devotional polyptychs , single figures, especially of the Virgin , mirror-cases, combs, and elaborate caskets with scenes from Romances , used as engagement presents. West portal of Chartres Cathedral c. South portal of Chartres Cathedral c. West portal at Reims Cathedral , Annunciation group. The Bamberg Horseman , near life-size stone equestrian statue , the first of this kind since antiquity.

Paris, — Siege of the Castle of Love on a mirror-case in the Louvre , —; the ladies are losing. Claus Sluter , David and a prophet from the Well of Moses. Section of a panelled altarpiece with Resurrection of Christ , English, —90, Nottingham alabaster with remains of colour. Renaissance sculpture proper is often taken to begin with the famous competition for the doors of the Florence Baptistry in , from which the trial models submitted by the winner, Lorenzo Ghiberti , and Filippo Brunelleschi survive. Ghiberti's doors are still in place, but were undoubtedly eclipsed by his second pair for the other entrance, the so-called Gates of Paradise , which took him from to , and are dazzlingly confident classicizing compositions with varied depths of relief allowing extensive backgrounds.

The period was marked by a great increase in patronage of sculpture by the state for public art and by the wealthy for their homes; especially in Italy, public sculpture remains a crucial element in the appearance of historic city centres. Church sculpture mostly moved inside just as outside public monuments became common. Portrait sculpture, usually in busts, became popular in Italy around , with the Neapolitan Francesco Laurana specializing in young women in meditative poses, while Antonio Rossellino and others more often depicted knobbly-faced men of affairs, but also young children.

His iconic David has a contrapposto pose, borrowed from classical sculpture. It differs from previous representations of the subject in that David is depicted before his battle with Goliath and not after the giant's defeat. Instead of being shown victorious, as Donatello and Verocchio had done, David looks tense and battle ready. Lorenzo Ghiberti , panel of the Sacrifice of Isaac from the Florence Baptistry doors; oblique view here. Luca della Robbia , detail of Cantoria , c. Donatello , David c. Donatello , Judith and Holofernes , c. Francesco Laurana , female bust cast.

Verrocchio , Doubting Thomas , —83, Orsanmichele , Florence. Michelangelo , David , c. Michelangelo , Dying Slave , c. As in painting, early Italian Mannerist sculpture was very largely an attempt to find an original style that would top the achievement of the High Renaissance , which in sculpture essentially meant Michelangelo, and much of the struggle to achieve this was played out in commissions to fill other places in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, next to Michelangelo's David. Baccio Bandinelli took over the project of Hercules and Cacus from the master himself, but it was little more popular than it is now, and maliciously compared by Benvenuto Cellini to "a sack of melons", though it had a long-lasting effect in apparently introducing relief panels on the pedestal of statues.

Like other works of his and other Mannerists it removes far more of the original block than Michelangelo would have done. Small bronze figures for collector's cabinets , often mythological subjects with nudes, were a popular Renaissance form at which Giambologna , originally Flemish but based in Florence, excelled in the later part of the century, also creating life-size sculptures, of which two joined the collection in the Piazza della Signoria. He and his followers devised elegant elongated examples of the figura serpentinata , often of two intertwined figures, that were interesting from all angles.

Stucco overdoor at Fontainebleau , probably designed by Primaticcio , who painted the oval inset, s or s. Benvenuto Cellini , Perseus with the head of Medusa , — Giambologna , Samson Slaying a Philistine , about In Baroque sculpture, groups of figures assumed new importance, and there was a dynamic movement and energy of human forms— they spiralled around an empty central vortex, or reached outwards into the surrounding space.

Baroque sculpture often had multiple ideal viewing angles, and reflected a general continuation of the Renaissance move away from the relief to sculpture created in the round, and designed to be placed in the middle of a large space—elaborate fountains such as Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Rome, , or those in the Gardens of Versailles were a Baroque speciality.

The Baroque style was perfectly suited to sculpture, with Gian Lorenzo Bernini the dominating figure of the age in works such as The Ecstasy of St Theresa — Artists saw themselves as in the classical tradition, but admired Hellenistic and later Roman sculpture, rather than that of the more "Classical" periods as they are seen today. The Protestant Reformation brought an almost total stop to religious sculpture in much of Northern Europe, and though secular sculpture, especially for portrait busts and tomb monuments , continued, the Dutch Golden Age has no significant sculptural component outside goldsmithing.

Statues of rulers and the nobility became increasingly popular. In the 18th century much sculpture continued on Baroque lines—the Trevi Fountain was only completed in Rococo style was better suited to smaller works, and arguably found its ideal sculptural form in early European porcelain , and interior decorative schemes in wood or plaster such as those in French domestic interiors and Austrian and Bavarian pilgrimage churches.

The Neoclassical style that arrived in the late 18th century gave great emphasis to sculpture. Jean-Antoine Houdon exemplifies the penetrating portrait sculpture the style could produce, and Antonio Canova 's nudes the idealist aspect of the movement. The Neoclassical period was one of the great ages of public sculpture, though its "classical" prototypes were more likely to be Roman copies of Hellenistic sculptures.

The European neoclassical manner also took hold in the United States, where its pinnacle occurred somewhat later and is exemplified in the sculptures of Hiram Powers. Bertel Thorvaldsen : Jason and the Golden Fleece John Flaxman , Memorial in the church at Badger, Shropshire , c. Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism , a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism , which developed over a period of close to years in Central Asia, between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, and the Islamic conquests of the 7th century CE.

Greco-Buddhist art is characterized by the strong idealistic realism of Hellenistic art and the first representations of the Buddha in human form, which have helped define the artistic and particularly, sculptural canon for Buddhist art throughout the Asian continent up to the present.

Though dating is uncertain, it appears that strongly Hellenistic styles lingered in the East for several centuries after they had declined around the Mediterranean, as late as the 5th century CE. Some aspects of Greek art were adopted while others did not spread beyond the Greco-Buddhist area; in particular the standing figure, often with a relaxed pose and one leg flexed, and the flying cupids or victories, who became popular across Asia as apsaras.

Greek foliage decoration was also influential, with Indian versions of the Corinthian capital appearing. Under the Indo-Greeks and then the Kushans , the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara , in today's northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura , and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire , which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia.

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The influence of Greco-Buddhist art also spread northward towards Central Asia , strongly affecting the art of the Tarim Basin and the Dunhuang Caves , and ultimately the sculpted figure in China, Korea, and Japan. Gandhara frieze with devotees, holding plantain leaves, in purely Hellenistic style, inside Corinthian columns , 1st—2nd century CE. Buner , Swat , Pakistan. Victoria and Albert Museum. Fragment of the wind god Boreas , Hadda , Afghanistan. Buddha head from Hadda , Afghanistan, 3rd—4th centuries. Gandhara Poseidon Ancient Orient Museum. The Buddhist gods Pancika left and Hariti right , 3rd century, Gandhara.

Taller Buddha of Bamiyan , c. Chinese ritual bronzes from the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties come from a period of over a thousand years from c. They are cast with complex patterned and zoomorphic decoration, but avoid the human figure, unlike the huge figures only recently discovered at Sanxingdui. Smaller figures in pottery or wood were placed in tombs for many centuries afterwards, reaching a peak of quality in Tang dynasty tomb figures.

These came to replace earlier equivalents in wood. Native Chinese religions do not usually use cult images of deities, or even represent them, and large religious sculpture is nearly all Buddhist, dating mostly from the 4th to the 14th century, and initially using Greco-Buddhist models arriving via the Silk Road.

Buddhism is also the context of all large portrait sculpture; in total contrast to some other areas, in medieval China even painted images of the emperor were regarded as private. Imperial tombs have spectacular avenues of approach lined with real and mythological animals on a scale matching Egypt, and smaller versions decorate temples and palaces.

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Small Buddhist figures and groups were produced to a very high quality in a range of media, [97] as was relief decoration of all sorts of objects, especially in metalwork and jade. These were mostly originally painted. In notable contrast to literati painters, sculptors of all sorts were regarded as artisans and very few names are recorded. A bronze ding from late Shang dynasty 13th century—10th century BCE. A tomb guardian usually placed inside the doors of the tomb to protect or guide the soul, Warring States period , c.

Lifesize calvalryman from the Terracotta Army , Qin dynasty , c. Northern Wei dynasty Maitreya — Tang dynasty tomb figure in sancai glaze pottery, horse and groom — Seated Buddha , Tang dynasty c. The Leshan Giant Buddha , Tang dynasty , completed in A wooden Bodhisattva from the Song dynasty — Chinese jade Cup with Dragon Handles, Song dynasty , 12th century. Blue underglaze statue of a man with his pipe, Jingdezhen porcelain , Ming Wanli period — During the Kofun period of the 3rd to 6th century CE, haniwa terracotta figures of humans and animals in a simplistic style were erected outside important tombs.

The arrival of Buddhism in the 6th century brought with it sophisticated traditions in sculpture, Chinese styles mediated via Korea. The Kei school of sculptors, particularly Unkei , created a new, more realistic style of sculpture.

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Almost all subsequent significant large sculpture in Japan was Buddhist, with some Shinto equivalents, and after Buddhism declined in Japan in the 15th century, monumental sculpture became largely architectural decoration and less significant. In the 19th century there were export industries of small bronze sculptures of extreme virtuosity, ivory and porcelain figurines, and other types of small sculpture, increasingly emphasizing technical accomplishment.

Priest Ganjin Jianzhen , Nara period , 8th century. Tsuba sword fitting with a "Rabbit Viewing the Autumn Moon", bronze, gold and silver, between and Izumiya Tomotada, netsuke in the form of a dog, late 18th century. The first known sculpture in the Indian subcontinent is from the Indus Valley civilization — BCE , found in sites at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in modern-day Pakistan. These include the famous small bronze female dancer.

However, such figures in bronze and stone are rare and greatly outnumbered by pottery figurines and stone seals, often of animals or deities very finely depicted. After the collapse of the Indus Valley civilization there is little record of sculpture until the Buddhist era, apart from a hoard of copper figures of somewhat controversially c.

Many Cultures, One World

The pink sandstone Hindu, Jain and Buddhist sculptures of Mathura from the 1st to 3rd centuries CE reflected both native Indian traditions and the Western influences received through the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, and effectively established the basis for subsequent Indian religious sculpture. Carving is often highly detailed, with an intricate backing behind the main figure in high relief.


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The celebrated bronzes of the Chola dynasty c. Ashoka Pillar , Vaishali , Bihar , c. Stupa gateway at Sanchi , c. The Colossal trimurti at the Elephanta Caves. Jain shrine with Rishabhanatha , Parshvanatha , Neminatha , and Mahavira , 6th century.