These days, artists have no shortage of novel materials to use for their work, from Lego pieces, to matchsticks, and even breakfast cereal. But as people often say, classics are often the best. And when it comes to classic materials, you won’t go wrong with bronze.
Getting to Know Bronze
Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper. While there are many possible bronze formulations, the typical ratio is usually 90% copper to 10% tin. Also, if you still remember your high school history class, you probably know that an entire era of prehistory was named after this alloy, speaking of its long history of usefulness to humans. Discovered largely by trial and error, bronze would also become a commonly used material for artists because of its rare properties.
A quick look at ancient art will reveal many examples of bronze artwork. In Greece, for instance, bronze is an especially popular medium, as evidenced by sculptures like the Dancing Faun (circa 125-100 BC) and Alexander on Horseback (circa 100-1 BC). You’ll also find bronze pieces in the around the world, such as the statuary in India’s Chola Empire and the bronze heads in the Kingdom of Benin in Africa. But what exactly makes bronze an ideal medium for artworks?
The Bronze Advantage
While bronze is often seen being as third-best when it comes to achievements, in the eyes of many artists–both past and present–it’s a first-class material for artworks. Widely used for creating sculptures, bronze has the unique property of expanding ever so slightly in a mold before setting completely. As such, delicate details are filled out with exceptional accuracy.
Furthermore, bronze offers superior tensile strength and better casting than pure copper, making it especially ideal for artwork that is exposed to the elements.
That being said, bronze work requires very skilled work. To achieve excellent results, plain bronze bars must be melted first, then cast in a variety of ways, from sandcasting, wax casting, and centrifugal casting.
Getting Your Bronze Supply
Of course, the quality of artwork you create relies heavily on the type of bronze you get. After all, one can’t make superior art from inferior materials. As such, make sure to order bronze sheets and bars only from reputable suppliers such as Rotax Metals. Such companies have a solid track record of delivering high-quality bronze goods in a timely manner, allowing you to create the best masterpiece possible.
Indeed, bronze has a long and rich history in the art world, and with reliable bronze suppliers at their side, artists can continue exploring the great possibilities this medium offers.
National Gallery of Art offers rare chance to see ancient Greek bronzes, washingtonpost.com