22 Feb The word statue and the word sculpture are often synonymous with the other
For non-experts the word statue and the word sculpture are often synonymous with the other; this idea was more widespread in the past, probably the reason is to be found in the very definition of the word.
By statue we mean something standing still, standing upright; derives from status, past participle of being that means to be still, standing. This term indicated an entire and prominent figure resting on a base that could represent a deity, a man, a woman, or an animal; while with the word “statuary” it meant those who made statues. It is clear that given the posture of the figures sculpted until shortly after the Middle Ages, this definition was exact and satisfactory with respect to the stone or wood artefacts produced in the various sites until that period.
If we move from the construction sites to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s study, we immediately realize that the word statue is already obsolete; it is also true that in the meantime, thanks to Brunelleschi who refused to pay tributes to his guild or that of the Art of stone crafts and wood that included the construction workers, architects, stonemasons, masons and sculptors, it was affirming among the artists the belief that they are no longer just artisans, now their knowledge was broadened to anatomy, from optics to mathematics to poetry and literature.
Of these new claims also enjoyed the sculptors, although last, in fact, it should be noted that the sculpture was the last to become part of the liberal arts, or those arts that every free gentleman had to know. It is understood that the brake to the emancipation of the sculptor was the manual phase necessary for the realization of the work; the contact between the hands and the raw material, dust and physical fatigue obscured, in the eyes of the gentlemen of the time, the intellectual component , responsible for the uniqueness of the sculptural work. It will be precisely the “unique” character of the work that brings out the sculptors forever from the workshops up to even allowing them to deal only with the design of their sculpture. But this is another story.
As we have ascertained and as Leonardo Da vinci already stated, art is above all a mental thing. This is the fulcrum on which the principles of my school of sculpture revolve. It is not matter to do the work, but the perfect balance between communicative intention, form and matter ; it is not the “marble” that the sculptor does but exactly the opposite!