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Revival and Invention

Sculpture through its Material Histories

Sébastien Clerbois and Martina Droth

Materials may seem to be sculpture’s most obvious aspect. Traditionally seen as a means to an end, and frequently studied in terms of technical procedures, their intrinsic meaning often remains unquestioned. Yet materials comprise a field rich in meaning, bringing into play a wide range of issues crucial to our understanding of sculpture. This book places materials at the centre of our approach to sculpture, examining their symbolic and aesthetic language, their abstract and philosophical associations, and the ways in which they reveal the political, economic and social contexts of sculptural practice. Spanning a chronology from antiquity through to the end of the nineteenth century, the essays collected in this book uncover material properties as fundamental to artistic intentionality.

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Contents

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List of Colour Plates vii List of Figures xiii Acknowledgements xvii Sébastien Clerbois and Martina Droth Introduction xix Michael Cole The Cult of Materials 1 Carol Mattusch The Privilege of Bronze: Modern Perception of Classical Materials 17 Fabio Barry A Whiter Shade of Pale: Relative and Absolute White in Roman Sculpture and Architecture 31 Martin Hirsch The Late Gothic Clay Sculpture of Bavaria 63 Maarten Delbeke Matter Without Qualities? Wax in Giacomo Vivio’s Discorso of 1590 91 Emilie Passignat Twisting Marble: Observations on the Figura Serpentinata and its Applications 121 vi Philippe Malgouyres Coloured Stones, Sculpted Objects: Subjects for Sculpture 153 Malcolm Baker Shifting Materials, Shifting Values? Contemporary Responses to the Materials of Eighteenth-Century Sculpture 171 Catherine Chevillot Nineteenth-Century Sculpteurs and Mouleurs: Developments in Theory and Practice 201 Sébastien Clerbois The Revival of Ivory Sculpture in Belgium (1890–1910): The Material in Question 231 Notes on Contributors 257 Bibliography 261 Index 269

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