Jonathan Scott Harley, Football Player, 1898, bronze. Museum Purchase with the aid of funds provided by the Freimann Trust.

Bronze: The Artistic Interest

March 21, 2021 - May 30, 2021

Related Events

Throughout history, sculpture has memorialized pharaohs, kings, cultural heroes, and religious figures. As cultural expression expanded beyond those confines, artists began making work for other creative purposes. Bronze: The Artistic Interest brings together sculptures from the permanent collection that represent both ends of the artistic spectrum, from traditional religious or mythical figures to contemporary abstract works of art. In this exhibition, we focus on a sculptural material that has been part of the human story for over 5,000 years: bronze.

Bronze is a material that sculptors have repeatedly turned to for its exceptional beauty and durability, but it has also been used by craftspeople for a variety of utilitarian purposes. While the use of bronze in weapons ended around 1,200 B.C., artists continue to revere the material for its ability to evoke timeless beauty and its almost indestructible nature. Its inherent stability lends itself to figures in action, allowing arms and legs to extend from the sculpted body without fear of easily breaking off as with stone or ceramic sculpture. Additionally, after the molten bronze is cast, it shrinks away from the mold more so than other metals, making it easier for artists to remove the sculpture once cooled. Bronze commands any space it is in, and these sculptures prove the elemental lure of this material across millennia and around the world to our present day.