Famous artists: Sculpture

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By Judith Harries

This is the third article in our series about famous artists. This article looks at artists who used sculpture as their artistic medium. Looking at images of their work will hopefully inspire practitioners and children to try sculpting a variety of different materials including clay, dough, cardboard, newspaper, wire, and natural or found objects.

A sculpture is defined as ‘the art of making statues or solid objects, in representative or abstract forms, especially by carving wood, modelling clay, or casting metal’. That is the starting point, and the children’s imagination creates the rest!

Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917)


Look at some images of sculptures by Rodin such as ‘The Cathedral’ and ‘The Thinker’. The children may be surprised to see that ‘The Cathedral’ is actually a model of two hands, notoriously one of the hardest images to paint or carve. Why do the children think it is so titled? The two hands are thought to be from two different people. Ask the children to work with a partner and draw round both their right hands with one hand overlapping the other. Try making a sculpture of a hand using plaster of paris inside a rubber glove. Let the children paint the finished hand with black and white repeated patterns.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Sylvette by Picasso

Picasso was an accomplished artist in many mediums including sculpture. Show the children images of his sculpture ‘The Guitar’ (1914) in which he created a silent guitar from cardboard, paper, string, wire, by cutting, folding, threading and glueing! A later version of the sculpture was produced in sheet metal. Point out the shapes that he used for the curved body, the circular sound hole, a cylinder or tube for the neck, and straight lines for strings. Provide some junk materials for the children to create their own ‘silent guitar’. How could they change it so it made music? Try adding elastic bands stretched over parts of the sculpture and pluck them!

Naum Gabo (1890 – 1977)

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