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(Above photo - Classical Busts from Canonbury Antiques )
One of the best ways to decorate your home is by using a bust. By definition, the word “bust” refers to a cast or sculpted depiction of the human figure from the chest, shoulders, neck, and head. The best known and most famous of these are the classical busts. The carvings were made to portray and to record how a famous individual appeared in real life. Still, many busts represent nothing more than a type of real individual being depicted.
(Above photo - Greek and Roman, philosophers, poets and Emperors - Classical busts )
Classical busts were mainly made from materials such as wood, plaster, terracotta, bronze, or marble. With a simple but, it was possible to depict an individual’s distinctive characteristic without having to put in a lot of work. Also, a bust was preferable for being small, compact, and able to occupy only a small space.
In classical antiquity, the word “bust” was sometimes used to describe a sculptural portrait of a “head”. However, some of the busts were initially the fragments of full-body statues. In that case, they were meant for insertion into a ready body. That was a common practice of Roman sculpture. However, the portrait heads aren’t the busts we intend to cover in this write-up.
Classical busts were first created in Hellenistic Greece. Even so, it is rare to find a bust that has survived from ancient Greece. Today, you will find copies of original Greek busts copied by Roman sculptors in the centuries that followed. For example, the Romans made several copies of Pericles bust, and yet the original sculpture was a full-length bronze. In short, the Romans are credited with popularizing the use of busts to portray famous figures.
(Above photo - My liege, the bard.. classical marble bust of William Shakespeare )
It was the tradition in Rome for families to keep the wax mass (death masks) of members who had died. The wax masks would be kept in the atrium of the house as a way of remembering the departed soul. During the funeral of another member of the family, the wax masks would be worn by the living. In succeeding decades, the wax masks seem to have been replaced by sculptures. Either way, people belonging to the equestrian order were required to maintain portraits of their ancestors.
(Above photo - Classical bust of Socrates )
The production of busts continued through the middle ages as well as the Renaissance. During that time, the preferred materials included marble, wood, and painted terracotta. In 16th-century England, notable baroque style busts include that of King Charles I.
What They Represented
(Above photo - Marble Bust Julius Caesar Roman Emperor Carved )
Classical busts may have become popular because of family traditions, but they mainly depicted famous individuals in society. For instance, it is not uncommon to find busts of famous leaders, gods, and goddesses. For example, busts representing Julius Caesar, Medusa, Hermes, Apollo, Diana, Venus, Caesar Augustus, King David, Caesar Primaporta, and so on.
Today, it is hard to find the original classical busts. However, through reproductions, sculptors have been able to come up with replicas of the original busts. They are available for sale in many antique shops. If you want the best service, don’t hesitate to visit us in our shop.
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