Saturday 16 December 2023

The Veiled Virgin

The Veiled Virgin is a sculpture by Giovanni Strazza (1818–1875), carved in Rome in the mid-19th century. Such figures were popular in that era. Then as now, people asked "How could a human being create such a thing?"

Here's how:

Make a clay model of your figure. Let it dry a bit. Take a length of fine cloth and dip it in clay slip (diluted clay). Drape it over the figure - you have one chance to get it right. Let the whole thing dry. Now studio assistants copy the model plus draperies in marble, using a 3D pantograph called a pointing machine.

Once they've done this, you, the sculptor, add the finishing touches with a fine chisel. You and the assistants give the marble a fine polish, to bring out the marble's translucency. And there you are.

Here's an anonymous Italian veiled nun.

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