Bust (sculpture)

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Bust of Augustus; circa 25 BC; marble; height: 83.5 cm, width: 83.5 cm; Louvre-Lens (Lens, France) Lens - Inauguration du Louvre-Lens le 4 decembre 2012, la Galerie du Temps, ndeg 057.JPG
Bust of Augustus; circa 25 BC; marble; height: 83.5 cm, width: 83.5 cm; Louvre-Lens (Lens, France)
Bust, probably of Georgiana Bingham; carved in circa 1821/1824; Carrara marble; overall without base: 52.39 x 27.31 x 22.86 cm; National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.) Bertel Thorvaldsen, Possibly Lady Georgiana Bingham, carved c. 1821-1824, NGA 156639.jpg
Bust, probably of Georgiana Bingham; carved in circa 1821/1824; Carrara marble; overall without base: 52.39 x 27.31 x 22.86 cm; National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.)

A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, and a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. The bust is generally a portrait intended to record the appearance of an individual, but may sometimes represent a type. They may be of any medium used for sculpture, such as marble, bronze, terracotta, plaster, wax or wood.

Sculpture Artworks that are three dimensional objects

Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving and modelling, in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast.

Human head Upper portion of the human body

In human anatomy, the head is at the top of the human body. It supports the face and is maintained by the skull, which itself encloses the brain.

Neck part of the body, on many terrestrial or secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that distinguishes the head from the torso or trunk

The neck is the part of the body on many vertebrates that connects the head with the torso and provides the mobility and movements of the head. The structures of the human neck are anatomically grouped into four compartments; vertebral, visceral and two vascular compartments. Within these compartments, the neck houses the cervical vertebrae and cervical part of the spinal cord, upper parts of the respiratory and digestive tracts, endocrine glands, nerves, arteries and veins. Muscles of the neck are described separately from the compartments. They bound the neck triangles.

Contents

As a format that allows the most distinctive characteristics of an individual to be depicted with much less work, and therefore expense, and occupying far less space than a full-length statue, the bust has been since ancient times a popular style of life-size portrait sculpture. It can also be executed in weaker materials, such as terracotta.

Statue Sculpture primarily concerned as a representational figure

A statue is a free-standing sculpture in which the realistic, full-length figures of persons or animals or non-representational forms are carved in a durable material like wood, metal, or stone. Typical statues are life-sized or close to life-size; a sculpture that represents persons or animals in full figure but that is small enough to lift and carry is a statuette or figurine, while one more than twice life-size is a colossal statue.

Terracotta clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic

Terracotta, terra cotta or terra-cotta, a type of earthenware, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the fired body is porous. Terracotta is the term normally used for sculpture made in earthenware, and also for various practical uses including vessels, water and waste water pipes, roofing tiles, bricks, and surface embellishment in building construction. The term is also used to refer to the natural brownish orange color of most terracotta, which varies considerably.

A sculpture that only includes the head, perhaps with the neck, is more strictly called a "head", but this distinction is not always observed.

Antiquity

Sculptural portrait heads from classical antiquity, stopping at the neck, are sometimes displayed as busts. However, these are often fragments from full-body statues, or were created to be inserted into an existing body, a common Roman practice; [1] these portrait heads are not included in this article. Equally, sculpted heads stopping at the neck are sometimes mistakenly called busts.

Classical antiquity Age of the ancient Greeks and Romans

Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

The portrait bust was a Hellenistic Greek invention, though very few original Greek examples survive, as opposed to many Roman copies of them. There are four Roman copies as busts of Pericles with the Corinthian helmet , but the Greek original was a full-length bronze statue. They were very popular in Roman portraiture. [2]

Pericles with the Corinthian helmet ancient roman marble bust(s), based on an ancient greek bronce statue

The Bust of Pericles with the Corinthian Helmet is a bust of the Athenian statesman and general Pericles which survives in the form of four marble copies from the Roman Imperial period.

Roman portraiture

Roman portraiture was one of the most significant periods in the development of portrait art. Originating from ancient Rome, it continued for almost five centuries. Roman portraiture is characterised by unusual realism and the desire to convey images of nature in the high quality style often seen in ancient Roman art. Some busts even seem to show clinical signs. Several images and statues made in marble and bronze have survived in small numbers. Roman funerary art includes many portraits such as married couple funerary reliefs, which were most often made for wealthy freedmen rather than the patrician elite.

The Roman tradition may have originated in the tradition of Roman patrician families keeping wax masks, perhaps death masks, of dead members, in the atrium of the family house. When another family member died, these were worn by people chosen for the appropriate build in procession at the funeral, in front of the propped-up body of the deceased, as an "astonished" Polybius reported, from his long stay in Rome beginning in 167 BC. [3] Later these seem to have been replaced or supplemented by sculptures. Possession of such imagines maiorum ("portraits of the ancestors") was a requirement for belonging to the Equestrian order. [4]

Death mask wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death

A death mask is a likeness of a person's face after their death, usually made by taking a cast or impression from the corpse. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. It is sometimes possible to identify portraits that have been painted from death masks, because of the characteristic slight distortions of the features caused by the weight of the plaster during the making of the mold.

Atrium (architecture) courtyard in a Roman domus

In architecture, an atrium is a large open air or skylight covered space surrounded by a building. Atria were a common feature in Ancient Roman dwellings, providing light and ventilation to the interior. Modern atria, as developed in the late 19th and 20th centuries, are often several stories high and having a glazed roof or large windows, and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors.

Polybius Ancient Greek historian

Polybius was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period noted for his work The Histories, which covered the period of 264–146 BC in detail. The work describes the rise of the Roman Republic to the status of dominance in the ancient Mediterranean world and includes his eyewitness account of the Sack of Carthage and Corinth in 146 BC, and the Roman annexation of mainland Greece after the Achaean War.

Middle Ages

Some reliquaries were formed as busts, notably the famous Bust of Charlemagne in gold, still in the Aachen Cathedral treasury, from c. 1350. Otherwise it was a rare format.

Bust of Charlemagne reliquary in the form of the bust of Charlemagne

The Bust of Charlemagne is a reliquary from around 1350 which is supposed to contain Charlemagne's skullcap. The reliquary is part of the treasure kept in the Aachen Cathedral Treasury. Made in the Mosan region, long a center of high-quality metalwork, the bust is a masterpiece both of late Gothic metalwork and of figural sculpture.

Aachen Cathedral Roman-Catholic cathedral in Aachen, Germany

Aachen Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, western Germany, and the see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aachen.

Renaissance

Busts began to be revived in a variety of materials, including painted terracotta or wood, and marble. Initially most were flat-bottomed, stopping slightly below the shoulders. Francesco Laurana, born in Dalmatia, but who worked in Italy and France, specialized in marble busts, mostly of women.

Baroque

The round-bottomed Roman style, including, or designed to be placed on, a socle (a short plinth or pedestal), became most common. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, based in Rome, did portrait busts of popes, cardinals, and foreign monarchs such as Louis XIV. His Bust of King Charles I of England (1638) is now lost; artist and subject never met, and Bernini worked from the triple portrait painted by Van Dyck, which was sent to Rome. Nearly 30 years later, his Bust of the young Louis XIV was hugely influential on French sculptors. Bernini's rival Alessandro Algardi was another leading sculptor in Rome.

Pictorial timeline

See also

Notes

  1. Stewart, 47
  2. Stewart, 46-47
  3. Belting, 116-117
  4. Belting, 116
  5. Previously known as The Blackamoor .

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