Sculpture (skŭlp'tū̇r), from a Latin word meaning to cut out or carve, is the art of representing the form of an object in a solid substance. When a figure is only partly raised from a background, it is called relief and has different names according to the degree in which it is raised, as bas-relief, meaning low relief. Wood, marble, granite, bronze, gold and ivory are some of the materials used in sculpture, anything that can be cut or molded into shape being used. The Greeks and Romans worked largely in marble, especially the pure, white marble brought from Paros (q. v.) called Parian marble. The art is an ancient one, beginning with the use of memorial stones and the making of images of the gods. The Egyptians are among the earliest nations to use sculpture in their religion, their temples being covered with reliefs, while innumerable statues of gods stood upon their plains. The Sphinx was probably sculptured about 4,000 B. C. The specimens of Assyrian sculpture found belong to the 9th and 8th centuries B. C. and are largely bas-reliefs, made on a large scale and of curious forms, as the colossal winged bulls, with human heads, that guarded their palaces. The first monument of classic Greek art which has come down to the present time is the marble statues on the temple of Athena at Ægina, by an unknown author. They now are at Munich. Pheidias, the greatest of Greek sculptors and of the world, known by his great work, the Parthenon, was followed by Praxiteles, Scopas and Lysippus, with such works as the Venus of Milo, Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön. The best artists of Rome were Greeks, and her treasures of art were largely brought from the plundered cities of Greece. For centuries the art of sculpture was almost lost until the 14th and 15th centuries, when Ghiberti made his wonderful gates at Florence and Donatello his statues of St. Mark and St. George, and Michael Angelo towered above all others. The 17th century witnessed only a falling back in the art of sculpture, with no immortal names among the artists; but the names of Houdon, Canova, Chantrey, Gibson, Thorwaldsen and Rude, among others, adorn the 18th century. The art had many followers in the 19th century, as Alfred Stevens of England, with his magnificent monument to the Duke of Wellington, and Barye, Rodin and many others in France, and Powers, Crawford, Greenough, Rogers, MacMonnies and St. Gaudens in the United States. See History of Sculpture by Lübke and History of Greek Sculpture by Murray.