Edgar Degas:
Sculpture "Spanish Dancer", bronze edition

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Edgar Degas:
Sculpture "Spanish Dancer", bronze edition

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https://www.arsmundi.com/en/artwork/spanish-dancer-sculpture-edgar-degas-314182.html
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Ars Mundi Exclusive Edition | Bronze | Handmade | Size:13 x 45 x 19 cm (W/H/D) | Weight: 4 kg

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Edgar Degas: Sculpture "Spanish Dancer", bronze edition

Aged Degas went blind increasingly, painting was impossible to him. But his creative power remained undiminished. Increasingly, he shifted to small sculptures, securing him an eternal reputation as a sculptor. The "Spanish Dancer" was cast in 1900 for the first time by lifting edge.

Original: bronze, Museum of modern art, New York.

Sculpture in fine bronze, hand-cast lost wax. Size: 13 x 45 x 19 cm (W/H/D). Weight approx.4 kg. Ars Mundi Exclusive Edition.

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Paintings of charming dancers and colorful theatre scenes are in the center of Degas’ creation since the mid-1860s. They belong to a group of everyday paintings showing the life of the great city. In many of his creations, Degas criticizes the new, modern world. By unusual details, he highlights the isolation of the single.

The French painter born in 1834, who, according to the wish of his affluent family, would have become a lawyer, studied the old masters in Louvre and in the Italian museums. Classical history paintings and portraits belonged once to his theme and form portfolio. Only after his encounter of Eduard Manet and the regular exhibitions after 1874 with the impressionists, he changed his painting style. However, he never saw himself as representative of this style and insisted on his independence.

In his works, there are no landscapes and he did not use impressionist color and form decomposition. For Degas, humans were the dominant theme of his creation. The connection between his works and the impressionists resided in his attempt to retain the moment. His skills of rendering movement is shown in the dynamic paintings of horse racings and ballet scenes. By fast brush strokes of pastel colors and delicate contour lines, he captures his theme. Degas’ artistic base was the drawing, containing important influences of Japanese xylographs. He transposes his themes in painting as well as in graphic works.

As Degas’ eyesight was weakening toward the end of his life, he switched from painting to sculpture. He modeled statuettes of riders and dancers, thus staying faithful to his familiar themes. Degas dined in 1917 in Paris.

An alloy of copper with other metals (especially with tin) used since ancient times.

Bronze casting:

When casting bronze, artist usually applies the lost-wax technique which is dating back more than 5000 years. It's the best, but also the most complex method of producing sculptures.

Sculpture "The Book Reader" by Ernst Barlachs is shown here as an example:

Ernst Barlach: Sculpture 'The book reader'

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 1

First, the artist forms a model of his sculpture. It is embedded in a liquid silicone rubber composition. Once the material has solidified, the model is cut out. The liquid wax is poured in the negative mould. After cooling down, the wax casting is removed from the mould, provided with sprues and dipped into ceramic mass. The ceramic mass is hardened in a kiln, and the wax flows out (lost mould).

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 2Now we finally have the negative form, into which the 1400 ° C hot molten bronze is poured. After the bronze had cooled down, the ceramic shell is broken off and the sculpture comes to light.

Ernst Barlach 'The Book Reader' - Lost Wax Casting Technique Part 3Now the sprues are removed, the surfaces are polished, patinated and numbered by the artist himself or, to his specifications, by a specialist. Thus, each casting becomes an original work

For lower-grade bronze castings, the sand casting method is often used which, however, does not achieve the results of more complex lost wax technique in terms of surface characteristics and quality.

Related links:
Sand casting

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