How To Classify Different Types Of Sculptures

by Edwin

A sculpture is a piece of art that is either manufactured through additive or subtractive methods. It is one of the oldest forms of art dating as far back as the 1300s. Some of the basic characteristics of sculptures include the fact that they are three dimensional and representatives. You can also consider the fact that they are solid as a characteristic. In this write-up, we discuss the types of sculptures.

Classifications of sculptures

There are several ways to classify sculptures. One of the most common types of classifications is based on the appearance of the final pieces. The following are classifications of sculptures based on their appearances;

  • Round Sculptures

A sculpture is referred to as round if it is free-standing. The term ‘free-standing’ refers to a sculpture that is not attached to any background. For instance, famous artiest Michelangelo David is known for creating some of the most renowned free-standing sculptures in the sector.

  • Relief Sculptures

Relief sculptures are the exact opposite of round ones. They are those that are attached to a background. The Parthenon Marbles is one of the most renowned kinds of relief sculptures. There are three types of relief sculptures;

  1. High relief- this is a sculpture that is dramatically raised from a background
  2. Bas relief- this is a sculpture that is slightly raised from the background’s surface.
  3. Sunken relief – this one involves the creation of an image below the surface of a background.

Another classification of sculptures is based on the mode of making the piece.

Below are types of sculptures in this category;

  • Subtractive sculpture

The subtractive sculpture is one that is manufactured using the subtractive method. The subtractive model is one that involves the removal of material continuously until the right shape is achieved. For instance, when using stone to curve sculptures, you first have to get a huge block of stone and use a hammer and chisel to carve out parts of the stone. This is the perfect example of a subtractive sculpture. Wood sculptures are also referred to as subtractive.

  • Additive sculptures

An additive sculpture is one that is manufactured using the additive method. The additive method is one that involves the continuous addition of materials until the desired shape is achieved. For instance, when using clay, you can either use different curve parts separately, and the latter join them or keep adding materials to produce various forms. Additive sculptures can also be made using the following two processes.

  1. Modeling- it is a method that involves the use of soft materials, the likes of wax or clay. The process works in such a way that the materials are added to mold a certain shape.
  2. Casting- it is a process where a mold is filled with a liquid material which is then allowed to harden. This is commonly used when making sculptures out of bronze and other hard metals.


Vicentaa is one of the leading sculpture suppliers in the market. The company is known for the large sculpture projects that it has completed. It is also known for working with some of the most diverse sculpting materials in the market.

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