Bronze Artist - Age of Bronze

Canadian artist Brett Davis uses bronze as his material of choice for several reasons. Bronze has been recognized as a noble metal. Bronze has been regarded for its longevity and durability (especially outdoors), the structural properties it possesses and the extensive repertoire of patina colours that complement the form and enhance the descriptive nature of each sculpture.


The Bronze Age

Bronze is a metal alloy that consists primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive, but sometimes with other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminium, or silicon. Used as an artist’s medium since antiquity, bronze is so significant in human history that we named an era after it: the Bronze Age. The discovery of bronze made it possible for people to create better objects than was previously possible with its predecessors of stone and copper. Tools, weapons, armour, sculpture, jewellery and various building materials, like decorative tiles, made of bronze were stronger, harder, and more durable.


Facts About Bronze and Bronze Sculptures:

  • The word ‘bronze’ is believed to be related to the Italian bronzo and the German brunst, perhaps ultimately taken from the Persian word birinj ("bronze") or possibly from the Latin name of the city of Brindisi.
  • Bronze can be comprised of copper and a mixture of alloys such as tin, lead, and zinc. Tin bronze was historically superior as it was easier to cast than other mixtures, and tin was a widely available alloy.
  • A cast bronze sculpture is often simply called a ‘bronze,’ as this material is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures.
  • Creating a bronze sculpture is highly skilled work, and being intimately familiar with all the techniques of working with this material is a prerequisite for all those who undertake it in order to achieve the desired results.

Artists who work with bronze, like Brett Davis, are required to be exceptionally meticulous, attentive to detail, and patient.

There are multiple stages involved when designing and creating these masterpieces. For example, for some of the stages and techniques involved for large sculptures, the artist will have to prepare small study models until they have achieved the correct pose and proportions. An intermediate-sized model is then designed for the inclusion of all the finer details. For very large works, this intermediate process may be repeated many more times before the artist is satisfied. From the final model, measurements are taken to determine the dimensions of an armature for the structural support of a full-size piece. This can be made from wood, steel or styrofoam to approximately fill the volume while keeping the weight at a minimum. Finally, plaster, clay or other material is used to form the full-size model, which can be used to make a mould. Before modern welding techniques, large sculptures tended to be cast in multiple pieces and pinned together using Roman joints. Today foundries weld the pieces together, saving time from making the intricate Roman joints.

A bronze artist must have true artistic genius to be able to control all the aspects of this process and allow art to emerge out of science.

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