Bronzes and calamines
Antique sculptures and figures made of metal alloys are a classic in decoration and collecting. The techniques of alloy metallurgy have been known for millennia: specifically, since the Bronze Age, which is estimated to have taken place between 3,000 and 1,200 BC, approximately. Today we can find precious antique bronzes for sale, with a wide ra...
Antique sculptures and figures made of metal alloys are a classic in decoration and collecting. The techniques of alloy metallurgy have been known for millennia: specifically, since the Bronze Age, which is estimated to have taken place between 3,000 and 1,200 BC, approximately. Today we can find precious antique bronzes for sale, with a wide range of prices and options that make it possible for the vast majority of the public to get started in art collecting. But bronze statues are not the only option: antique calaminas are a great alternative for those who wish to start or expand their own collection. More
Bronze and calamine sculptures: a bit of history
As we mentioned, the Bronze Age is so named because it was during those years when the metallurgy of this material was developed. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, copper being the base metal. Tin appears in the alloy in a proportion between 3 and 20%, depending on the mixture. It is a fundamental material in the history of mankind, as it was the first quality alloy created by man. Bronze was used to build weapons, practical utensils, jewelry or coins, but also for the creation of art objects.
In Antique Egypt, bronze statuettes were common; but it was the Greek civilization that first created large statues. The Romans, for their part, made this technique their own and perfected it. A good example is the horse head found in a German site, dating from the first century and gold plated, which has been valued at about 1.7 million euros and today can be admired in the Roman Fort of Saalburg (Germany).
On the other hand, the origin of calamine sculptures is much more recent. This alloy involves three elements: calamine (zinc carbonate), tin and lead. It was at the time of the French Revolution when it began to be used to make statues and figures, due to the shortage of copper (essential for making bronze and brass) caused by the uprisings. The calamine allowed to continue creating objects of art and for decoration; to improve their appearance, the figures were polychromed, gilded or patinated afterwards. The period of greatest splendor of antique calamine was between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, coinciding with the rise of styles such as Art Nouveau or Art Deco.
Which is more interesting: buying antique bronzes or buying antique calaminas?
Of course, we do not have a categorical answer to this question. It all depends on the interest and taste of the buyer, the availability of quality pieces, the destination you want to give to the objects and your budget. In any case, both options allow to obtain works of art full of beauty, charm and history, perfect to decorate a room or dazzle in a showcase dedicated to the best of the collections.
And there is no reason to be limited only to bronzes and calamines. There are other alternatives for those interested in starting an art collection: without going any further, resin statues and other artistic products. This is the case of the famous 'Nanas' of the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, which today reach exorbitant figures at auctions. Or, within the field of collecting, the delicious polychrome resin figures of the Valencian sculptor Juan Ripollés. Fantastic pieces full of beauty and expressiveness, perfect for illuminating spaces with the unique character of the most special works of art.