The Making of a Marble Sculpture: See Every Stage of the Process, from the Quarry to the Studio

Some mar­ble stat­ues, even when stripped of their col­or by the sands of time since the hey­day of Greece and Rome, look prac­ti­cal­ly alive. But they began their “lives,” their appear­ance often makes us for­get, as rough-hewn blocks of stone. Not that just any mar­ble will do: fol­low­ing the exam­ple of Michelan­ge­lo, the dis­cern­ing sculp­tor must make the jour­ney to the Tus­can town of Car­rara, “home of the world’s finest mar­ble.” So claims the video above, a brief look at the process of Hun­gar­i­an sculp­tor Már­ton Váró. That entire process, it appears, takes place in the open air: most­ly in his out­door stu­dio space, but first at the Car­rara quar­ry (see bot­tom video) where he picks just the right block from which to make his vision emerge.

Like Michelan­ge­lo, Váró has a man­i­fest­ly high lev­el of skill at his dis­pos­al — and unlike Michelan­ge­lo, a full set of mod­ern pow­er tools as well. But even today, some sculp­tors work with­out the aid of angle cut­ters and dia­mond-edged blades, as you can see in the video from the Get­ty above.

In it a mod­ern-day sculp­tor intro­duces tra­di­tion­al tools like the point chis­el, the tooth chis­els, and the rasp, describ­ing the dif­fer­ent effects achiev­able with them by using dif­fer­ent tech­niques. If you “lose your ego and just flow into the stone through your tools,” he says, “there’s no end of pos­si­bil­i­ties of what you can do inside that space” — the space of lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties, that is, afford­ed by a sim­ple block of mar­ble.

In the video above, sculp­tor Sti­je­po Gavrić fur­ther demon­strates the prop­er use of such hand tools, painstak­ing­ly refin­ing a rough­ly human form into a life­like ver­sion of an already real­is­tic clay mod­el — and one that holds up quite well along­side the orig­i­nal mod­el, when she shows up for a com­par­i­son. The Great Big Sto­ry doc­u­men­tary short below takes us back to Tus­cany, and specif­i­cal­ly to the town of Pietrasan­ta, where mar­ble has been quar­ried for five cen­turies from a moun­tain first dis­cov­ered by Michelan­ge­lo.

It’s also home to hard­work­ing sculp­tors well known for their abil­i­ty to repli­cate clas­sic and sacred works of art. “Mar­ble is my life, because in this area you feed off mar­ble,” says one who’s been at such work for about 60 years. If stone gives the artist life, it does so only to the extent that he breathes life into it.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch a Mas­ter­piece Emerge from a Sol­id Block of Stone

Michelangelo’s David: The Fas­ci­nat­ing Sto­ry Behind the Renais­sance Mar­ble Cre­ation

How Ancient Greek Stat­ues Real­ly Looked: Research Reveals Their Bold, Bright Col­ors and Pat­terns

Roman Stat­ues Weren’t White; They Were Once Paint­ed in Vivid, Bright Col­ors

3D Print 18,000 Famous Sculp­tures, Stat­ues & Art­works: Rodin’s Thinker, Michelangelo’s David & More

Rare Film of Sculp­tor Auguste Rodin Work­ing at His Stu­dio in Paris (1915)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


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  • Dr kadhar khan says:

    Get the finest qual­i­ty nat­ur­al stone from our exten­sive col­lec­tion. Com­plete your mar­ble needs only at Rk Mar­bles India. Buy rare and unique stones from our prod­uct range that will help mes­mer­ize your eyes. Get the finest qual­i­ty nat­ur­al stone from our exten­sive col­lec­tion. Com­plete you mar­ble needs only at Rk Mar­bles India. Buy rare and unique stones from our prod­uct range that will help mes­mer­ize your eyes.

    Get the finest qual­i­ty nat­ur­al stone from our exten­sive col­lec­tion. Com­plete your mar­ble needs only at Rk Mar­bles India. Buy rare and unique stones from our prod­uct range that will help mes­mer­ize your eyes.

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