The advantage of the natural contour of the figures allows the work to be viewed from many angles without distortion of the figures themselves, but the background depth is only suggested. There is a continuum of the bas-relief technique into the next category, alto-relievo, or high relief.
Composite works Editar
Occasionally, free standing sculptures are set in front of a relief sculpture to deepen the scene. Only those figures that are supported by attachment to the vertical stone background are considered to be part of the "relief". Foreground sculptures may be part of the final "grouping", but not of the "relief".
Bas relief has existed in all civilizations creating stone sculpture from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China, to classical, Middle Ages, and Renaissance periods in Europe. A world-wide use of this and the "alto" technique in public or political sculpture exists throughout the modern world. The Elgin marbles are a prime example of this form of art, and Stone Mountain is the world's largest bas-relief.
- Prehistoric examples of bas-reliefs can be found with other kinds of art in the caves of Europe. The method used here was to etch the shape of an animal or other form around the natural features of the rock surface creating three-dimensional sculptures that stand out in natural light. The world's most extensive collection of paleolithic bas-reliefs was found in Creswell Crags, UK in 2003; this cave art has been dated at almost 13,000 years old.
- Mostly used sunken relief, where the figures are cut into the stone, rather than the stone being cut away to reveal them. It is thought to have existed before sculptures that are in the round. This form of art has coexisted with full round sculpture since ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used relief sculptures to decorate the interiors of their buildings.
- Descent of the Ganges at Mahabalipuram is a giant open air monolithic bas-relief dating to the 7th century and is in the group of monuments designated a World Heritage Site.
- The Greeks achieved the greatest mastery of this form of art. They used the bas-relief sculptures as an ornamental and integral way to decorate buildings. They used friezes and sculptures as backgrounds for the interior and exterior walls. Many of their sculptures were models of the Greek gods.
- Bas-relief stone carvings of Persepolis, built during the Achaemenid Empire, are among the works of this art.
- The Romans owe some of their relief sculptures to the Greek artists they employed.
- The Christian relief were mainly used on sarcophagi to depict religious and symbolic subjects. Relief was also used in Christian art to recreate scenes from the Old and the New Testament; some of the scenes include Daniel in the lions' den and Moses striking water from the rock.
A term, meaning "squashed" or "flattened" relief in Italian, for a very low type of relief, generally accepted to be an invention of Donatello when used for a whole composition, although it was used early in the backgrounds of conventional bas-reliefs.
In architecture Editar
It is most commonly used for the architectural adornment of building surfaces, both inside and outside, where the stone is part of the building, rather than as a free-standing piece of art to be hung on a wall. Sometimes the resulting image has been painted, and other times it has been left in the natural state of the material used. Bas-relief should not be confused with an etching, as the latter requires cutting into a flat surface, leaving indentations within the flat surface, which becomes suitable for printing by applying ink and pressing paper to the surface.
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