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Sculpture Topic Guide

Sculpture is a three-dimensional art form. Different materials can be used to create sculptures; some examples include stone, ice and bronze.

Different processes can be used to create sculpture. some sculptures are created by carving materials such as wood. Others are cast in a mould. Many modern sculptors build their artworks from materials including metal, plastic and natural materials.

Teach your children about sculpture using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Watch a video about how ice sculptures are produced and try one of our teaching ideas linked to it.
  • Create sculptures from materials that would normally be recycled, such as plastic or cans.
  • Whatever medium you use, give the children an opportunity to explore it before making a sculpture. This allows them to discover and understand its properties before working on an art piece.
  • Try these figures made from straws and pipe cleaners.
  • Visit a local sculpture and find out about its history. Who made it? Why did they choose that subject? What is it made from?
  • Ask children to make a list of their favourite sculptures, and why they like them. This list from Tate Kids is a good example to get them started.
  • Use the images in our Sculpture Display Pack as a discussion starter. What do the children notice about the images? What is the same, what is different?
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Resources

Sculpture Facts

  • The world’s largest sculpture is The Statue of Unity in Gujarat, India. This enormous structure is made of steel and cement and clad in bronze. It is 240 metres (787 feet) tall, about the same height as 24 double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.
  • The earliest known sculptures are about 30,000 years old!
  • Many large sculptures are designed as public art, and placed in parks, gardens, and squares for everyone to enjoy.
  • Ancient Greek and Roman statues were originally painted in bright colours.
  • Relief sculptures are designed to be seen from one side, and are often found on the walls of buildings.

Videos

Sculpture near you: ‘Angel of the North’ by Antony Gormley

Students from Bede Academy in Gateshead present a film about the Angel of the North, a public sculpture in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England.

Running time: 4:21

How Alexander Calder’s “Mobile” injects motion into sculpture

Enjoy Calder’s beautiful kinetic sculptures.

Running time: 2:31

Stone Age Art – The Dame de Brassempouy

This video talks about a beautiful stone-age carved head.

Running time: 4:23

How To Look at Public Art: A Six-Year-Old Explains

Explore some public art in San Francisco with six-year-old Brixton.

Running time: 2:49

Books

A Lion in Paris

A gorgeous picture book inspired by a lion sculpture in Paris.

The Lion and the Unicorn

When Lenny is evacuated to the country, he finds companionship in a garden with a statue of a unicorn.

Two Brothers, Four Hands

The story of sculptor Alberto Giacometti, and his brother Diego.

A Child's Introduction to Art

You will find images of many of the world’s most famous sculptures in this book.

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