Glossary of terms and words relating to stone sculpture and statues.


Abstract - Abstract sculpture represent subjects by shapes, lines and patterns, rather than accurate representations of the actual shape.

Aesthetic - Pertaining to the beautiful, artistic and tasteful, rather than the useful, scientific, or emotional.

Architectual  - Architectural stone sculpture is a sculptured component integrated into a building or structure, usually to enhance the aesthetic quality. An example could be an ornately carved mantle around a fireplace.

Art Deco- An art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by repetitive, geometric patterns of curves and lines.
Art Nouveau - An art style of the late 1800's featuring curving and swirling shapes based on natual forms.

Baroque - A theatrical style usually associated with European art and architecture ca. 1550-1750, It is characterized by much ornamentation and curved rather than straight lines.

Bas relief
- sculpture in which the figure or subjects are carved only slightly raised from the stone, from which they are carved. The shape or figure is not undercut.

Base - The base is what the stone sculpture or statue is attached, fixed or mounted on. This can be carved from the same block of stone as the statue, or from a seperate piece of stone. See Pedestal and Plinth.

Bust - Is a carved portrait of a person that includes the head, neck, shoulders and breast, often mounted on a base or column. It is  figurative but can be realistic or not. Although generally life sized, they can vary from miniature monumental sized.

Carve - The process of removing stone by cutting or incising to produce a shape or object. The act of carving is one of the oldest sculptural techniques. It is a subtractive process; starting with a block, the sculptor removes stone using chisels and other tools to 'reveal' the finished form.

Carving A carved stone. (noun)
Classical sculpture
  - Generally refers to forms of sculpture from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.

Conceptual art -  An art form in which the concept and the process by which it is achieved take precendence over aesthetics.

Contemporary Art - Generally defined as current artwork, but can date back to art produced since the second half of the twentieth century.
Content - The message conveyed by a work of art - its subject matter and whatever the artist hopes to convey by that subject matter.

- The skill of the sculptor to produce fine quality carving.

- The planned organization of lines, shapes, masses, textures and space in a sculpture or statue.

Direct carving
- A term used to describe an approach to carving, in which the sculptor carves the finished sculpture without using intermediate models or maquettes. The sculptor either works from memory, reference pictures or from observing the subject.

- The sculptural tecnique of incising lettering, numbers, symbols or designs into stone by cutting grooves into it.
Enviromental art
- Usually refers to art that is large enough for viewers to enter and move about in but can also mean sculpture designed for outdoor display to transform the natural landscape.

Figurative sculpture
- Statues or sculpture of representations of humans or animals.

Garden sculpture or statue - A statue or sculpture intended to enhance or compliment a garden or outdoor setting, which can often also create a theme for the setting.

Intricacy - The level of detail and complexity that can be achieved in the carving of the stone.

Maquette - A small model of a sculpture or statue to be carved in stone at a larger scale.

Mass - Three-dimensional form, often implying bulk, density and weight.
Matt- The non glossy finish available for surface of stone sculpture.

Marble - A metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism  of limestone,composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3) One of the most prized stones for sculpture and statues.

Minimalism - A style of sculpture in which the sculpture is stripped down to it most fundamental features.

Mixed Media
- The term is often used when two or more media are used to form a single sculpure e.g. metal and stone.

Modern Art - Can refer to experimental art where traditional tecniques amd styles have been abandoned for a new approach to art. Modern Art can also describe art work produced from the 1860s to the 1970s.

- Descriptive of an artwork that closely resembles forms in the natural world.

Non objective - Non objective sculpture is completely non-representational; pure design; fully abstract.

Plinth - A base on which the stone statue can be mounted on. This can be carved from seperate stone or from the same block as the sculpture.

Pedestal - A pedestal is a base on which a statue or sculpture is placed or mounted.

Portrait - A portrait sculpture usually only comprises of the head or head and neck.

Realistic / Reaslim - Realistic Sculpture portrays real objects or people without distortion or stylisation. It can also be used to mean representational or objective sculpture as rather than abstract sculpture.

Polish - The smoothing down and refining of the surface of the stone. This is the final stages of the sculpture and can vary from matt finish to a glossy shine.

Proportion - The size relationship between parts of a whole, or between two or more objects perceived as a unit.

Relief - Relief sculpture projects from a background ut is also attached to that background.

Roughing out - Roughing out is a term used in stone sculpture to describing the process of carving out the basic shape into stone, before any detail is created.

Sandstone - Is a sedimentary rock composed of sand-sized grains of 0.06 – 2 mm, in diameter. Stonelove offer a choice of 3 main types of sandstone for sculpture, grey, brown or greeen coloured.

Sculpt - to carve stone.

Sculpture - A 3 dimensional art carved from a block of stone.

Sculpture reference pictures
- Reference images used by the sculptors when carving the stone. These can be photos or drawings of the sculpture to be carved.

Statue - A statue is sculpture representing a person or persons, an animal, or an event. Usually full length, as opposed to a bust, and usually life-size, or larger.

- A small statue of a person or animal.

Stone - Cut rock, suitable for carving and sculpture. The traditional material of the sculptor, it has been carved and polished since prehistoric times.