The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, June 22, 2018

The Getty Invites Visitors to Learn How Bronzes are Cast Through Step-by-Step Models
The wax model partially invested. © 1999 J. Paul Getty Trust.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Artists have used bronze for casting sculptures since the early civilizations. Lost wax casting, the most widely used method, was employed by the Egyptians and the Greeks, and later revived by Renaissance sculptors.” Foundry to Finish: The Making of a Bronze Sculpture, on view beginning June 23, 2009 at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, will give viewers a rare look at this process, using step-by-step models and Xradiographs.

The 13 step-by-step replicas displayed in Foundry to Finish reproduce one of the great masterpieces by Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries (1556–1626), the Getty’s Juggling Man (1615), and illustrate the artist’s sculpting and casting process. X-rays reveal the interior of the sculpture and provide clues about de Vries’ construction and casting methods.

First, de Vries built an armature of iron rods tied together with wire, which served as a support while the artist modeled wet clay onto the armature to construct a slightly smaller, simplified version of the final composition. Then, the clay was heated to eliminate all moisture. An even layer of wax would then be added over the clay until the final form was achieved. The clay form—now hidden inside the wax—is called the core of the sculpture. The core acts as the inner section of the casting mold.

Next, the artist applied a network of wax rods (called sprues) to the model that would act as a circulatory system, bringing molten metal into, and air and gasses out of, the mold. A morewax pouring cup was attached, and short iron pins (called core pins) were inserted through the wax and into the core. Using his hands or a brush, the artist applied the outer part of the mold, called the investment (a heat-resistant mixture of sandy clay and water) onto the sprued model. Investment was built up until the model was completely embedded in a solid mass— containing the armature, the inner clay core, the modeled wax layer, and the core pins (which penetrate the investment through the wax and into the core). Turned upside down in an oven (called a kiln), the mold was heated until the wax layer surrounding the clay core had melted out, creating a space for the molten bronze that would become the sculpture. The core pins kept the core in alignment once the wax was gone, then the investment was turned right side up and molten bronze was poured into the hole at the top. Bronze filled the space left by the melted wax, and would harden when the investment was allowed to cool. When the solid investment material was broken, it revealed the bronze inside—letting the sculptor know for the first time whether or not his cast had been successful.

At this stage, a bronze bore little resemblance to the final, polished sculpture. First it had to be cleaned up, a process called fettling and chasing. The bronze sprues were removed by sawing, filing, or chiseling, and the iron core pins were pulled out. The dark, sooty oxide layer covering the surface was scrubbed off. Core-pin holes were patched and flaws were repaired using plugs made of discarded bronze from the removed sprues. In the sculpture featured in this exhibition (or installation), de Vries cut out three small miscast areas at the back of the left leg and filled them with round plugs. Next, he smoothed the edges of the repairs to disguise them.

The final steps were to refine and polish the sculpture—sharpen details of the face, hair, nails, etc. – using small, specially-shaped iron tools. The surface was given a smooth, reflective shine by polishing with light abrasives or by burnishing (rubbing) with a rounded tool. The finished bronze preserved every detail of the artist’s original wax model in a material that was both permanent and precious.

Patina is the term used to describe the surface finish of a bronze. The word refers both to the coatings that the artist intentionally applied and to the natural changes that occur over time due to weathering and oxidation. This exhibition shows four different types of varnishlike patinas that de Vries could have chosen for his sculpture. Once the bronze is given its final texture and polished, the artist chooses from a wide range of patinas that protect the surface and vary its appearance. A patina can increase luster, change the color, or hide casting imperfections.

Getty | Greeks | Bronze | Xradiographs | Adriaen de Vries | Egyptians |

Today's News

June 23, 2009

Hayward Gallery Invites High Profile and Up-and-Coming Artists for Summer Exhibition

Afghanistan's Dazzling National Treasures-Hidden for 25 Years-Presented at Metropolitan Museum

More than 70 Artists to Participate at Beijing 798 Biennale in August

Exhibition Highlights Celebrated Surrealist Objects from MoMA's Collection

Significant Exhibition of Ansel Adams to be Shown at Columbia Museum of Art this Fall

The Getty Invites Visitors to Learn How Bronzes are Cast Through Step-by-Step Models

University of Leicester to Hold 8th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Show

DeCordova Museum Announces The DeCordova Biennial

Design September Festival to Offer a Wide Spectrum of Applications for Design Industry

Alejandra Laviada is the Winner of the Descubrimientos PHE09 Award

First U.S. Solo Museum Exhibition for Quintessential Los Angeles Artist Larry Johnson

Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Exhibition of Selected Watercolors from Brooklyn Museum Holdings of James Tissot's Life of Christ on View this October

Museum of Contemporary Art in Puerto Rico Shows Leopoldo Maler's Intoxications

Smithsonian Announces Archives of American Art Medal Recipients

Top Ten Artworks Present Life in Sydney's City of Villages

Tours of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center at the Clark Offered in July and August

Attempt to Raise Hell and Octagon: Photographs by Kevin Lynch Opens July 12 at Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery to Present Faces of the Frontier: Photographic Portraits from the American West

Hispanic Artist Preserves Tradition of Religious Art in Colorado

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

The J. Paul Getty Museum announces acquisition of Northern Renaissance masterpiece

Getty Research Institute presents "Greetings from L.A.: Artists and Publics, 1950-1980

Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute acquire Ed Ruscha photographs and archive

From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine's Gray Column at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Getty Museum Displays Stories to Watch: Narrative in Medieval Manuscripts

Getty Villa to Present Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze

Getty Museum Displays a Selection of Chinese Photographs Produced Since the 1990s

Getty Museum Displays First Survey of Felice Beato's Long and Varied Photography Career

J. Paul Getty Museum's Statue of Love Goddess Aphrodite Transfer Ends Italy Dispute

Exhibition on Treatments and Techniques Used to Conserve Rare Works on Paper at the Getty

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful