Roberto Scardella – Living with bronze

The bronze sculptures by Roberto Scardella have been described as linking the contemporary and ancient worlds. They are mostly derived from the magnificence of the horse and the flowing beauty of a woman. It is said that his sculptures ‘prance and dance’.

He explains the techniques and emotive forces that combine in the creation of a bronze sculpture. ‘I learned the art, techniques and dynamics of sculpting in bronze in Rome. The technique I use is called Lost Wax casting, not greatly different to the processes used in the Renaissance by the famous sculptors of Florence.

I start in my studio, where I envision the theme and let my hand do the drawing. These drawings create for me the force of the horse, its energy and movement. The sketches become sculpture in the most fragile of materials, wax. The excitement is to convert this poor fragile creation into a strong and noble bronze sculpture.

I travel with my wax sculpture to Verona, where there are still artisans casting in bronze. There, patiently we encase the wax model in a special semi-porous clay that has great resistance to sudden temperature changes. Small straws of wax link the encased model to the outside world. The cast is dried slowly to prevent cracking and then is placed in a large oven and heated to 1000 degrees to bake the clay and melt out the wax.

And now we reach the critical stage the casting of the bronze, which requires great skill and confidence, bred of vast experience. It is essential to avoid holes from trapped air and for the mould to be evenly heated by the molten bronze. The molten bronze, at 1100 degrees, is poured into a ladle held by two men, and then rapidly poured into the inverted mould until bronze issues from each of the channels.

After many days of cooling aided by fresh draughts, the sculpture is released from its clay prison by breaking off the mould, which is crushed and re-used. If I have succeeded, the creature will bound out of the mould. I then cut off the straws of bronze and close the surface pores with a wax’.

Many months have passed in the creation.

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