Sculpture is a three-dimensional art that can be created in a variety of materials. Figurative art is the representation of a human or animal form, and the artist Michelangelo is one of the most famous figurative sculpture artists. He is best known for his “David” and the “Pieta”. Rodin’s famous sculpture known as “The Thinker” was made from bronze and like many public sculptures it was designed to be displayed outdoors. Many of the large modern sculptures by the modern artist Henry Moore were also designed for outdoor settings. The best way to get to know more about the famous sculpture artists is by looking at their lives and their influences.
Michelangelo, who was known in his time as Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, was born in Italy at Caprese on March 6, 1475. He was an apprentice of Domenico Ghirlandaio. Michelangelo completed his “Pieta” sculpture in 1495 and finished his statue of “David” in 1504. Both of these sculptures show the values of the High Renaissance, a cultural movement that took place between 1450 and 1527. His sculptures of life-like figures were perfectly balanced and conveyed a moment between stillness and movement. Michelangelo lived a very simple life, even though he grew wealthy through his art. He was working in Rome, at the age of 88, on a design for the cupola of Saint Peter’s, when he died on February 18, 1564.
Auguste Rodin was born in Paris on November 12, 1840. His bronze sculptures were influenced by the works of Michelangelo and his first major work in bronze, created in 1877, brought accusations that it must have been cast it from a live person. There was also a lot of confusion about what this sculpture, named “The Age of Bronze”, represented. At the time people were only used to seeing sculptures that had some religious or historical significance. Rodin’s next major work did have a religious theme. This was “Saint John the Baptist Preaching” and it was bigger than life size at 6 feet 7 inches tall.
In 1880 Rodin was commissioned to design some bronze doors for the Museum of Fine Arts in Paris. These doors were known as the “Gates of Hell”, and featured one of Rodin’s most famous sculptures, “The Thinker”. Although Rodin never fully completed the “Gates of Hell”, he did complete “The Burgers of Calais” and was well known as a famous sculpture artist after completing this great outdoor sculpture in bronze. When he died on November 17, 1917, Rodin was 77.
Henry Moore was born in England on July 30, 1898 at Castleford in West Yorkshire. By the age of 11 he had learned about the works of Michelangelo and he knew that he wanted to create great sculptures. Moore’s earliest works were influenced by Victorian values and by the classicism that artists of the time were expected to incorporate into their work. Henry Moore soon grew bored of working in the classical style and was increasingly attracted to direct carving in a more primitive style.
While teaching at the Royal College of Art, Henry moore met Irina Radetsky and they were married in July 1929. Irina suffered several miscarriages before giving birth to their daughter. By then Moore had become more interested in bronze casting and less in direct carving. His daughter’s birth in March 1946 inspired him to start producing his famous mother-and-child bronze artworks.
Large bronze sculptures by Henry Moore were made by the lost wax method. His famous “Reclining Figure” of 1951 had an impact on Modernism. He created another typical abstract female figure, known as “Die Liegende”, for the city of Stuttgart in Germany and continued to produce huge abstract female figures up until his death at Much Hadham in Hertfordshire, on August 31, 1986, at the age of 88.
The figurative sculptures of Michelangelo made him very famous and have been a great influence on artists since the time of the High Renaissance. The art of sculpture, as demonstrated by Michelangelo had a big impact on other great artist such as August Rodin and Henry Moore, who both became world-famous for their own innovative bronze sculptures. When you know more about the famous sculpture artists and their masterpieces, you can appreciate the reasons why their names have lived on and how, while the works they produced are very different, the art of sculpture is interlinked.