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.
For information on
bronze art, or the Canadian bronze artist Brett Davis, please visit www.ageofbronze.ca