Bronze has remained the optimum material for sculpture and statuary due to the alloy's intrinsic
strength and lack of brittleness as well as its ability to easily be separated from an artist's mold. Bronze is typically a combination of copper and tin but can also include zinc, lead, nickel, and iron.
Life's History in Bronze
The use of bronze tools and weapons dates back to 4500 BC. A thousand years later, bronze was being used in ancient Mesopotamia to cast jewelry and by 2500 BC improvements in casting techniques allowed for ancient artisans to cast statuary in bronze.
Bronze sculptures were prized around the world from China, the Middle East to Egypt, and ancient Greece. Across Europe, artists expressed their talents in creating bronze statues in the form of animals, portraits, busts and figurines, as well as for religious icons.
From the Renaissance through the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical movements, bronze sculpture became an increasingly popular medium for artists.
The Grace Dee May Museum is home to an impressive collection of European bronze statuary.