Learning to Look at Sculpture
By Mary Acton
Routledge – 2014 – 332 pages
Learning to Look at Sculpture is an accessible guide to the study and understanding of three dimensional art. Sculpture is all around us: in public parks, squares, gardens and railway stations, as part of the architecture of buildings, or when used in commemoration and memorials and can even be considered in relation to furniture and industrial design. This book encourages you to consider the multiple forms and everyday guises sculpture can take.
Exploring Western sculpture with examples from antiquity through to the present day, Mary Acton shows you how to analyse and fully experience sculpture, asking you to consider questions such as What do we mean by the sculptural vision? What qualities do we look for when viewing sculpture? How important is the influence of the Classical Tradition and what changed in the modern period? What difference does the scale and context make to our visual understanding?
With chapters on different types of sculpture, such as free-standing figures, group sculpture and reliefs, and addressing how the experience of sculpture is fundamentally different due to the nature of its relationship to the space of its setting, the book also explores related themes, such as sculpture’s connection with architecture, drawing and design, and what difference changing techniques can make to the tactile and physical experience of sculpture.
Richly illustrated with over 200 images, including multiple points of view of three dimensional works, examples include the Riace bronzes, Michelangelo’s David, Canova’s The Three Graces, medieval relief sculptures, war memorials and works from modern and contemporary artists, such as Henry Moore, Cornelia Parker and Richard Serra, and three-dimensional designers like Thomas Heatherwick.
A glossary of critical and technical terms, further reading and questions for students, make this the ideal companion for all those studying, or simply interested in, sculpture.
Introduction 1. The Influence of the Classical Tradition and the Development of Sculptural Types 2. The Free Standing Figure and its Legacy 3. Group Sculpture - The Interaction between Forms 4. Relief Sculpture. Communication and Narrative Power 5. The Bust. Sculpture and the Portrait 6. Sculpture, Memory and Commemoration 7. Sculpture and its Setting 8. Sculpture and Drawing 9. Epilogue and Conclusion. Sculpture and Design: The idea of Three Dimensional Design as Sculpture
Mary Acton was Course Director of the Undergraduate Diploma and Advanced Diploma in the History of Art at Continuing Education, University of Oxford. She continues to teach at the University of Oxford and works as a freelance lecturer. She is the author of the bestselling Learning to Look at Paintings (1997, 2009) and Learning to Look at Modern Art (2004).