Interaction of sculptor and painter

August 15th, 2006

Painting and making sculpture are today considered as separate pursuits with little interaction between the two. Historically, sculpture and painting had important influences on each other. Below Lorenzo Ghiberti (in his Commentaries) describes some of his contribution to this process:

Also by making sketches in wax and clay for painters, sculptors, and stone carvers and by making designs of many things for painters, I have helped many of them to achieve the greatest honors for their works.

These “sketches” in wax and clay were presumably small figure models. For the painter, they would provide life-like models with the patience of a still-life.
For my current painting projects I have been making figure “sketches” in both clay and wax, and I have been amazed at how helpful these are. Lately I have been using wax more than clay, because wax is more stable than unfired clay. Firing the clay produces a strong model, of course, but it then cannot be changed easily.

[This topic thread moved to The Homunculus]

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3 Responses to “Interaction of sculptor and painter”

  1. Karl Zipser Says:

    I found this quote in The Feud that Sparked the Renaissance by Paul Robert Walker. This is an excellent book which tells the life stories of Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi.

  2. Angela Ferreira Says:

    Many of the live renaissance period paintings that I have seen close to the eye gave me the impression that were painted from sculptures rather than live models.
    It’s very interesting that you are studying and working from your own sculptured models than rely on the commodity of already formed imagery.

  3. Karl Zipser Says:

    I have sometimes had the idea also that some Renaissance paintings were made from sculptural figures rather than live models, because of a hard quality of the light and shading on the skin. Michelangelo’s Doni Madonna seems to me a good candidate for a painting made from sculptural models. We cannot be certain how any particular picture was made, of course.