Monday, December 05, 2011

Bring a bar of soap to class on Th / Fri for Relief sculpture study

Relief is a sculptural technique. The term relief is from the Latin verb levo, to raise.

An effective lesson in relief requires the student to sculpt a bar of soap. We will use large paper clips as tools.

Ivory Soap is the recommended brand. It is soft and forgiving in sculpture. But any full-size bar of soap will score the points.
- 10 pts for having the soap.
- 5 points for successful carving.

To create a sculpture in relief is thus to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane, says Wikipedia. What is actually performed when a relief is cut in from a flat surface of stone or wood is a lowering of the field, leaving the unsculpted parts seemingly raised.

In high relief (alto-rilievo), more than 50% of the depth is shown and there may be undercut areas. There is also mid-relief (mezzo-rilievo), low-relief (basso-rilievo, or French: bas-relief), and shallow-relief or rilievo schiacciato,[1] where the plane is scarcely more than scratched in order to remove background material. There is also sunken relief, which was mainly restricted to Ancient Egypt.

A bas-relief ("low relief", French, from the Italian basso rilievo) or low relief is a projecting image with a shallow overall depth, for example used on coins, on which all images are in low relief.

In the lowest reliefs the relative depth of the elements shown is completely distorted, and if seen from the side the image makes no sense, but from the front the small variations in depth register as a three-dimensional image.

It is a technique which requires less work, and is therefore cheaper to produce, as less of the background needs to be removed in a carving, or less modelling is required. In the art of Ancient Egypt and other ancient Near Eastern and Asian cultures, and also Meso-America, a very low relief was commonly used for the whole composition. These images would all be painted after carving, which helped to define the forms.