Making Art

Bronze Casting

One of the most popular and effective ways of casting bronze sculpture is known as the lost wax technique, or investment casting. This method has been used since at least the third millennium BC when sculptors in Egypt and the Near East employed it to make metal figures. It is still practised today.

There are two main types of lost wax casting: direct and indirect. In the direct method, described here, the sculptor's original wax model is destroyed in the process and remade in bronze. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.

We have recreated the stages in which a late 16th century statuette in the Fitzwilliam, known as The Acrobat [M. 21-1979], might have been made by the French sculptor Barthélemy Prieur [1536 - 1611].

The different stages may have been carried out by several members of a workshop.


Click on the image of The Acrobat to see how it was made.

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Find out more about these works from the collection that were made using the same technique

Giovanni Francesco
1474 – 1554

1656 - 1740

Antoine Chaudet
1763 – 1810

South Arabia
4-5th century BC

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