Bust (sculpture)

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Louis XIV, 1665 Chateau de Versailles, salon de Diane, buste de Louis XIV, Bernin (1665) 03 black bg.jpg
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Louis XIV , 1665

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, wax or wood.

Sculpture Branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions

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 separates the head from the torso. It contains blood vessels and nerves that supply structures in the head to the body. These in humans include part of the esophagus, the larynx, trachea, and thyroid gland, major blood vessels including the carotid arteries and jugular veins, and the top part of the spinal cord.

Contents

Unidentified woman, by Joseph Chinard, terracotta, 1802 Chinard-desconhecida.jpg
Unidentified woman, by Joseph Chinard, terracotta, 1802

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 following death, often made by taking a cast or impression directly from the corpse. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. Such casts obviate idealised representations by revealing the actual features. 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 the mainland Greece after the Achaean War.

Pictorial timeline

Thutmose (sculptor) ancient Egyptian sculptor

Thutmose, also known as "The King's Favourite and Master of Works, the Sculptor Thutmose" was an Ancient Egyptian sculptor. He flourished around 1350 BC, and is thought to have been the official court sculptor of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten in the latter part of his reign. A German archaeological expedition digging in Akhenaten's deserted city of Akhetaton, at Amarna, found a ruined house and studio complex in early December 1912; the building was identified as that of Thutmose based on an ivory horse blinker found in a rubbish pit in the courtyard inscribed with his name and job title. Since it gave his occupation as "sculptor" and the building was clearly a sculpture workshop, the determination seemed logical and has proven to be accurate.

Lucius Junius Brutus Founder of the Roman Republic

Lucius Junius Brutus was the founder of the Roman Republic and traditionally one of the first consuls in 509 BC. This followed his successful overthrow of the Roman monarchy. He was claimed as an ancestor of the Roman gens Junia, including Decimus Junius Brutus and Marcus Junius Brutus, the most famous of Julius Caesar's assassins.

Capitoline Brutus antique bronze bust

The Capitoline Brutus is an ancient Roman bronze bust commonly thought to depict the Roman consul Lucius Junius Brutus, usually dated to the late 4th to early 3rd centuries BC, but perhaps as late as the 2nd century BC, or early 1st century BC. The bust is 69 cm (27 in) in height and is currently located in the Hall of the Triumphs within the Capitoline Museums, Rome. Traditionally taken to be an early example of Roman portraiture and perhaps by an Etruscan artist influenced by Hellenistic art and contemporary Greek styles of portraiture, it may be "an archaizing work of the first century BC". The Roman head was provided with a toga-clad bronze bust during the Renaissance.

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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References

Hans Belting German art historian

Hans Belting is a German art historian and theorist of medieval and Renaissance art, as well as contemporary art and image theory. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and studied at the universities of Mainz and Rome, and took his doctorate in art history at the University of Mainz. Subsequently he has held a fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C..

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