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METHODS AND MATERIALS]
489
SCULPTURE


exactly as happened to suit each portion of his design. Other differences from the modern mechanical rules can easily be seen by a careful examination of the Parthenon frieze and other Greek reliefs. Though the word “ bas-relief ” is now often applied to reliefs of all degrees of projection from the ground, it should, of course, only be used for those in which the projection is slight; “ basso, ” “ mezzo ” and “ alto rilievo ” express three different degrees of salience. Very low relief is but little used by modern sculptors, mainly because it is much easier to obtain striking effects with the help of more projection. Donatello and other 1 5th-century Italian artists showed the most wonderful skill in their treatment of very low relief. One not altogether legitimate method of gaining effect was practised by some medieval sculptors: the relief itself was kept very low, but was “ stilted ” or projected from the ground, and then undercut all round the outline. A I5l'.l'l-C€I1llLl1'y tabernacle for the host in the Brera at Milan is a very beautiful example of ~this method, which as a rule is not pleasing in effect, since it looks rather as if the ngures were cut out in cardboard and then stuck on (see RELIEF).

The practice of most' modern sculptors is to do very little to the marble with their own hands; some, in fact, have never really learnt how to carve, and thus the finished usm, m, , statue is often very dull and lifeless in comparison with the clay model. Most of the great sculptors of the middle ages left little or nothing to be done by an assistant; Michelangelo especially did the whole of the carving with his own hands, and when beginning on a block of marble attacked it with such vigorous strokes of the hammer that large pieces of marble flew about in every direction. But skill as a carver, though very desirable, is not absolutely necessary for a sculptor. If he casts in bronze by the cire perdue process he may produce the most perfect plastic works without touching anything harder than the modelling-wax. The sculptor in marble, however, must be able to carve a hard substance if he is to be master of his art. Unhappily some modern sculptors not only leave all manipulation of the marble to their workmen, but they also employ men to do their modelling, colloquially termed “ ghosts, ” the supposed sculptor supplying little or nothing but his sketch and his name to the work. Thepractice, however, is less common nowadays than formerly, owing mainly to one or two exposures which brought the matter sharply before the public. In some cases sculptors of ability who suffer under an excess of popularity are induced to employ aid of this kind on account of their undertaking more work than any one man could possibly accomplish-a state of things which is necessarily very hostile to the interests of true art. As a rule, however, the sculptor's scarpellino, though he may and often does attain the highest skill as a Carver and can copy almost anything with wonderful fidelity, seldom develops into an original artist. The popular admiration for pieces of clever trickery in sculpture, such as the carving of the open meshes of a, fisherman's net, or a chain with each link free and movable, or a veil over and half revealing the features of the face, would perhaps be diminished if it were known that such work as this is invariably done, not by the sculptor, but by. the scarpellino. Unhappily at the present day there is, especially in England, little, appreciation of what is valuable in plastic art; there is probably no other civilized country where the State does so little to give practical support to the advancement of monumental and decorative sculpture on a large scale-the most important branch of the art-which it is hardly in the power of private persons to further.

It may here be well to say a few words on the technical methods Sculptofs

employed in the execution of medieval sculpture, which in the Medieval main were very similar in England, France and Germany. meds When bronze was used-m England as a rule only for Kd the effigies of royal persons or the richer nobles-the metal matedm was cast by the delicate cm: perdue process, and the whole surface of the figure was then thickly gilded. At Limoges ln France a large number of sepulchml eiii ies were produced, especially between 1300 and 1400, and exported to distant places. These were not cast, but were made of hammered (repoussé-qw.) plates of copper, nailed on a wooden core and richly decorated with champlevé enamels in various bright colours. Westminster Abbey possesses a fine example, executed about 1300, in the effigy of William of Valence (d. 1296).1 The ground on which the figure lies, the shield, the border of the tunic, the pillow, and other parts are decorated with these enamels very minutely treated. The rest of the copper was ilt, and the helmet was surrounded with a coronet set with jewels, winch are now missing. One royal effigy of later date at Westminster, that of Henry V. (d. 1422), was formed of beaten silver fixed to an oak core, with the exception of the head, which appears to have been cast. The whole of the silver disappeared in the time of Henry VIII., and nothing now remains but the rough wooden core; hence it is doubtful whether the silver was decorated with enamel or not; it was probably of English workmanship.

In most cases stone was used for all sorts of sculpture, being decorated in a very minute and elaborate way with gold, silver and colours applied over the whole surface. In order to give additional richness to this colouring the surface of the stone, often even in the case of external sculpture, was covered with a thin skin of gesso or fine plaster mixed with size; on this, while still soft, and over the drapery and other accessories, very delicate and minute patterns were stamped with wooden dies, and upon this the gold and colours were applied; thus the gaudiness and monotony of fiat smooth surfaces covered with gilding or bright colours were avoided.” In addition to this the borders of drapery and other arts of stone statues, were frequently ornamented with crystals and fiilse jewels, or, in a more laborious way, with holes and sinkings filled with polished metallic foil, on which very minute patterns were painted in transparent varnish colours; the whole was then protected from the air by small pieces of transparent glass, carefully shaped to the right size and fixed over the foil in the cavity cut in the stone. It is difficult now to realize the extreme splendour of this gilt, painted and jewelled sculpture, as no perfect example exists, though in many cases traces remain of all these processes, and show that they were once very widely applied.3 The architectural surroundings of the figures were treated in the same elaborate way. In the 14th century in England alabaster came into frequent use for monumental sculpture; it too was decorated with gold and colour, though in some cases the whole surface does not appear to have been so treated. In his wide use of coloured decoration, as in other respects, the medieval sculptor came far nearer to the ancient Greek than do any modern artists. Even the use of inlay of coloured glass was common at, Athens during the 5th century B.C.-as, for example, in the plait-band of some of the marble bases of the Erechtheum-and five or six centuries earlier at Tiryns and Mycenae,

Another material much used by medieval scul tors was wood, though, from its perishable nature, comparatively few early examples survive; 4 the best specimen is the figure of George de Cantelupe (d. 1273) in Abergavenny church. This was decorated with gesso reliefs, gilt and coloured in the same wa as the stone. The tomb of Prince flohn of Eltham (d. 1334) at Wiestminster is a very fine example o the early use of alabaster, both for the recumbent effigy and also for a number of small figures of mourners all round the arcading of the tomb. These little figures, well preserved on the side which is protected by the screen, are of very great beauty and are executed with the most delicate minuteness some of the heads are equal to the best contemporary work of the son and pupils of Niccola Pisano. The tomb once had a high stone canopy of open work-arches, canopies and pinnacles-a class of architectural sculpture of which many extremely rich examples exist, as, for instance, the tomb of Edward II. at Gloucester, the de Spencer tomb at Tewkesbury, and, of rather later style, the tomb of Lady Eleanor F itzalan de Percy at Beverley. This last is remarkable for the reat richness and beauty of its sculptured foliage, which is of the finest Decorated period and stands unrivalled by any Continental example. The; condition of this shrine (erected about 1335 to 1340) is almost per ect. -

On technical methods, see (specially for the explanation of modelling, &c.) Edward Lantéri, Modellin (London, vol. 1, 13103, vol. 2, 1904, vol. 3, 1910), and Albert Toft, Modelling an Sculpture (London, 1910). These volumes give in detail every process and method of the sculptor's craft with a fulness to be found in no other works of their class in the English language.

1 Other effigies from Limoges were imported into England, but no other example now exists in the country., A, A

2 In the modern attempts to reproduce the medieval polychrome these delicate surface reliefs 'have been omitted; hence the painful results of such colouring as that in Notre-Dameand the Sainte Chapelle in Paris and many other “ restored " churches, especially in France and Germany. » .

3 On the tomb of Aymer de Valence (d. 1326) at Westminster a good deal of the stamped gesso and coloured decoration is visible on close inspection. One of the cavities of the base retains a fragment of glass covering the painted foil, still brilliant and jewel-like in effect. 4 The Victoria and Albert Museum possesses a magnificent colossal wood figure of an angel, not English, but Italian work of the 14th century. A large stone statue of about the same date, of French workmanship, in the same museum is a most valuable example of the

use of stamped gesso and inlay of painted and glazed foil.