When one thinks about adding to their art collection or decorating their home, naturally the thing that first comes to mind is a two-dimensional work of art for a wall or mantel. But paintings aren’t the only way to enhance your space and show off your personality. Sculpture is a versatile option that can lend a sense of culture and character to your home.
Though the word sculpture tends to evoke thoughts of Michelangelo’s towering David or the Winged Victory of Samothrace who stands triumphant over the stairway in the Louvre, sculpture for your home needn’t be so imposing. It can add a hint of humor to a space, or even a touch of drama, without being overwhelming. Read on for a few tips and tricks on how to incorporate sculpture into your decorating scheme.
Don’t feel constrained by style
We’ve all done it. You decide on a style for your home, and you stick with it. It does make decorating simpler. Once you conclude that your study will be, say, Empire in style, the collecting part becomes easier. But people who stick to just one style or genre are missing out on an opportunity to add richness and depth to their home. Believe it or not, it IS possible to make modern pieces work in classical settings — and vice versa.
If you fall in love with a classical bust, it can be integrated into your mid-century modern living room. And you will almost certainly find that it adds even more personality to your space. Classical doesn’t always means conventional, and classical sculpture can lend the perfect touch of whimsy to an otherwise modern room.
Experiment with spaces and angles
By their very definition, sculpture are three-dimensional works of art, and they are meant to be experienced in space! Some sculptures are specifically designed to by placed against a wall, and thus have an unfinished back. Others are just as beautiful from the back as the front, and you will want to make it shine from every angle. If you don’t have the space to pull a sculpture out from the wall, try placing a mirror behind it so that its back can still be enjoyed.
Placing your sculpture correctly helps to bring the work to life. Don’t be afraid to move a work of art away from a wall or to display it on a table at the center of the room. After a few days, if it doesn’t feel like the right spot, just move it around — you aren’t married to the initial placement, and you may find a better way to display the piece after you live with it for a time.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be monumental
While sculpture can be large — think equestrian sculptures in your city square or full marble nude figures — it doesn't have to be. You shouldn't let the idea that you need a ton of space deter you from adding sculpture to your collection. You can easily find a bust in a more moderate size appropriate for a bookcase or credenza. A smaller piece will serve more as an accent and is the perfect way to try out the sculptural form in your space before making a bigger commitment.
Not all sculpture comes in white marble or bronze! Sculpture — particularly modern sculpture — can help give a subdued, neutral space a much-needed pop of color. You don’t need the sculpture to be massive either in order to make an impact. Just a small bit of color can make a dramatic change in a neutral room, creating an exciting focal point in your space.
That being said, don’t be afraid to go big and bold! Large, colorful sculptural works can bring a certain “Wow!” factor to your home, particularly against a neutral wall. However, these pieces will need a little room to breathe, so place them in an otherwise sparse room for maximum impact.
Add the drama!
Just by their very nature, sculptures are dramatic, but there are a number of tricks you can use to heighten that natural drama. This is where lighting, in particular, makes all the difference. Just like with your face, your sculpture is going to look quite different depending on the angle of its light source.
Play with the richness of shadowing to really heighten the impact of a bust or abstract piece. A low light source can create a compelling shadow on the wall behind an abstract work, while a high light source can add a theatrical quality to the face of a bust. Change up lighting to evoke different feelings from your piece; it is an easy way to instantly change the look and feel of a room.
Don’t neglect the garden
Many of the earliest known examples of sculpture were created to be placed outdoors, and we think the ancients were on to something! Sculpture can help to transform your backyard in an outdoor retreat. Just make sure that your piece is crafted from a durable material before exposing it to the elements. Artworks made of bronze, granite and concrete will hold up best against the wind and the rain.
I hope you’re now feeling inspired to bring sculpture into your home - click here to browse our current collection of sculptural works.