The History of Metal Artwork

The History of Metal Artwork

Metal Art - Intro
Any art work that is crafted from the ‘ores of the earth,’ including bronze, gold, tin, lead, silver and iron is defined as metal art. It is also common to see metal art created from various metal alloys, such as aluminum. Metal art can be either purely decorative or functional and useful. In the Early Bronze Age, for example, cups and bowls were hammered from metal – accomplishing both decorative and functional purposes. Although just about any surviving relic from the Bronze Age might be considered ‘art’ in our day, metalwork certainly has gradually become more and more decorative in nature - and the metal sculptures seen today demonstrate this most clearly.

Importance of Metalwork
Mankind is born with an instinctive desire to design and create things, not only for practical purposes, but also for aesthetic value. Ancient cups and bowls reveal an interest in design, and allow us to see some of the natural stages and progression of art. Seeing this artistic development throughout history allows us to appreciate the ability of mankind to develop the creative mind and translate that into tangible creations. This observation helps us understand the importance of metalwork and how it plays a critical role in anthropological studies.

Fortunately for us, certain metal handle the test of time quite well and maintain their original brilliance for thousands of years. As metal work evolved to more design-centric and decorative in nature, metal artists began to create statues, bracelets, necklaces and other forms of gold and bronze décor discovered from various ancient civilizations.

It is worth noting that all metals do not age equally – for example, one of the most famous pieces of metal art is the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. This statue is created from copper and wrought iron, but the years of exposure has caused the copper to patina, giving it the green color we see today.
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