Everything You Need to Know About Displaying Vintage Sculpture
Unparalleled to wall art, vintage sculptures require optimal location and lighting in order to truly showcase their details. Displaying artwork properly is essential so as to truly appreciate its beauty and uniqueness. This is one of the best parts of owning art but can also be a daunting challenge, especially with vintage sculptures.
The history behind a used sculpture or artist can be as unique as the piece itself. When purchasing a used or vintage sculpture, do some research into its past as a way to get to know the history of the piece. Whether an abstract sculpture or a figural piece, purchasing a secondhand sculpture can add interest to any room in the house. Here are our tips for you to consider when buying and displaying vintage sculptures.
Where To Display
Because sculptures are three-dimensional, they should be able to be viewed from many angles. Try placing a vintage sculpture on a coffee table in the center of the room for the best visibility (although displaying a sculpture at eye-level is recommended). If this impedes on the room’s natural traffic flow, it may be best to consider a different location for display. Shelves, bookcases or nooks are other optimal locations for showcasing a sculpture, because they are typically out of the way, as are side tables in the living room or bedroom. Add a lamp near the piece, for functionality, but also to improve lighting and visibility.
Types of Sculpture
Before purchasing a used sculpture, it is important to understand the different types on the market. When considering adding this type of artwork to a space, the overall style of the room must be taken into consideration. If the space leans more toward a modern style, an abstract sculpture would complement it best, while a bust or more traditional-looking sculpture can align itself with a vintage-inspired room.
Relief Sculpture: This type of sculpture features an image set against a flat background, such as a coin, for example, as the date, inscription and figure are slightly raised above the flat background. When the image is only slightly raised, the sculpture is referred to as low relief or bas-relief, while statues that are three-dimensional but are still attached to their background are known as high relief.
Sculpture in the Round: These sculptures are freestanding, meaning they are not attached to a background. Most commonly, most statues or busts are carved in the round, hence their creative name.
Modeling: Some of the more common types of sculpted art are called modeled sculptures; they are typically done using clay, wax or any other type of pliable, soft medium. In order to create this type of sculpture, the artist adds pieces of material and molds it into the desired shape.
Carving: Thought to be the opposite of modeling, carving involves the process of removing material from the sculpture in order to obtain the desired shape instead of adding material to the piece. A knife or chisel is typically used in this process of making these equally popular works of art.
Joining or Constructing: Although not widely practiced until the 20th century, this kind of sculpture involves the joining of wood, plastic or metal pieces in an abstract manner. These works tend to reside on the more modern side of art and will typically complement a modern looking room.
How to Display
In the Spotlight: Lighting plays a crucial role in displaying vintage sculptures, as it does with any piece of art. Not enough light will hide the artwork, while too much light can wash out all of its beautiful details. One tip is to display a sculpture near a diffused light source, such as daylight sourced from a window, in order to achieve the perfect visibility. One way to do this is to display a collection of small sculptures on a windowsill. Try to avoid light directly below the piece, as this may create an uneasy atmosphere. Light directly behind the sculpture may also cause difficulties in viewing the piece. Lastly, a spotlight may make for a dramatic display, but it can also create an equally dramatic shadow. One exception to this rule of thumb are sculptures made of transparent materials, in which case, a lit pedestal can make for the perfect viewing environment.
Up on a Pedestal: While smaller used sculptures may make their permanent homes on shelves or tables, larger pieces can benefit from using a pedestal. When choosing the perfect pedestal, make sure it is made out of something that complements the space and doesn’t look out of place. No matter a large or small sculpture, its pedestal must not draw attention away from the piece, but instead, blend in with its surroundings in order to showcase every detail of the sculpture itself.
Used or vintage sculptures can add personality to the room where it resides and are a great addition to any space.