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No images may be copied, reproduced or distributed in any manner without written permission. I will grant you permission to link or post any of my images on your site as long as you credit it and link back. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2016, Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, unless otherwise labeled.

25.1.12

Wax and Sculpture since earlier times!

Ever since I discovered Encaustic I got hooked, and have been using this “new” medium every time I can, even in my sculpture work.

I say “new” because it’s “new to me”, but it’s really an old media that is making a strong comeback.

It was actually the Greeks three thousand years ago who started it all, when their shipbuilders decided to mix beeswax with Damar resin to caulk and waterproof hulls. In fact, Encaustic, comes from the Greek word Enkaustikos, that means, “to burn in”. As Greeks found that by heating beeswax and adding Damar resin to it, the mixture would raise the wax melting point and hardness. It was then, only a matter of time for people to start adding pigments to the mix and create a painting medium with great luminosity and depth, which has been used as far back as the Greco-Roman Egypt era.

NOTE: Evidence of this ancient medium can be found in museums all over the world. If you're ever in New York City, visit the Metropolitan Museum and take a look at the Fayum Mommy Portraits from the Greco-Roman Egypt era in their collection. It’s amazing to see how wax has preserved the vivid colors of the pigments for so many years.

Consequently, “…the curved hulls of seagoing barques led Greek artists to take encaustic in two directions: flat for easel painting and fully dimensional for the polychroming of clay and marble sculptures… [Evidence of earlier sculptors using wax can be found in] a krater [large vase used in ancient Greece to mix wine and water] from the fourth century B.C., now in the Metropolitan museum of Art, [that] depicts a sculptor applying wax to a marble figure,” Joanne Mattera, The Art of Encaustic Painting: Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax, Watson-Guptill Publications (2001).

Recently, during a trip to Madrid, Spain, I got the chance to visit the modern, contemporary Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. It was such a treat!

Amongst all the wonderful art I got to see, experience, and enjoy, I came across a couple of wax sculptures that inspired me to write this post, they were both made by Post-Impressionist Italian sculptor, Medardo Rosso (Turin 1858-Milan 1928), and the best thing is that they allowed me photograph them.

Both sculptures were made using Wax on "Escayola," (which is a very high quality plaster use for construction in Spain). Here are the images, enjoy!

"Banbina Che Ride" (Laughing Girl)
Ca. 1902
Medardo Rosso

"Bambino Malato" (Sick Boy)
1889-1892
Medardo Rosso

In my opinion, here the wax brings to the pieces a sense of exquisite delicacy!

As we can see, wax and sculpture have had successful marriages all throughout history,  as a coating for  marble, clay, plaster, wood, fabric, and other porous surfaces, as well as in the "Lost-Wax" technique used to cast metal sculptures.

Of course, my work could never compared to Rosso's works, but since I'm sure you're curious to see what I have done with this "new" found medium, here are some of my sculptures where I have used Encaustic.

"Rhino", 2009
Stoneware, beeswax, resin, pigments
©Corina S. Alvarezdelugo

"Dwelling" 2011
Abaca, beeswax, resin, twigs, nest
©Corina S. Alvarezdelugo

"Hatched!", 2011 (Relief, front view)
handmade paper, shredded recycled paper, beeswax, resin, pigments
 
©Corina S. Alvarezdelugo



"Hatched!", 2011 (Relief, side view)
handmade paper, shredded recycled paper, beeswax, resin, pigments
©Corina S. Alvarezdelugo

I have a stoneware and wax sculpture I recently finished, but don't have a good picture of it yet, so I'll try to post it tomorrow after I photograph it under good lighting... and since I can get enough of this medium, I'm currently working on a "book art" sculpture, using paper and wax. I'll post pictures on another post when I'm done!!

8 comments:

  1. Very nice work. I love the eggs and nest. I just started my blog today. Yours is pretty inspiring.

    Rae
    Www.raedollard.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rae! Your comment means a lot to me.

      Best of wishes with your new blog, I'll be checking it!!

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  2. What great information. Encaustic has always been a medium that I am drawn too and yet I have not tried it. Now that you have given me a brief history and shared your results, I will definitely have to find my way to one of your workshops!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Millie, it would be awesome to have you over at one of my workshops!!! I hope you can make it!!!

      Delete
  3. I loved learning more about encaustic and your work is just beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Laura! I'll be posting more about this wonderful media, and you could also join one of my workshops to learn fist hand about it!! It would be nice to have you, Millie and Joy together in one class!!! :D

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  4. We have a lot in common. Joanne sent me your blog as I not only make 3D encaustic (as well as paintings) but also I will be giving a talk at the conference on the history of three dimensional figurative sculpture using encaustic. I plan to include Rosso in my talk and loved seeing your images from Madrid. I have been making "bee brood chambers" with encaustic, beeswax and botanicals - smaller but similar to your "Dwelling", which is fantastic. Hope to see it or one similar in Provincetown. You can see my latest work at skarnoldart.com under the category "new". Or you can just go to skarnoldarts.new.com. Thanks for sharing your work with me.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Susanne,

      So nice to meet you through here!! Joanne has told me about you. Love your works!! Thanks for sharing your link with me... My piece "Dwelling" is not a large piece. It's actually one of my smallest pieces, so I'll be happy to bring it to the conference for you to see it in person.

      I know my pictures of Rosso's sculptures aren't that great but if you want to use them for your presentation, I'll be happy to email them to you. Let me know.

      Looking forward to meeting you in person at the Conference!!

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