Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has been attributed to saying “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” This is most certainly true in the sculpture masterfully carved by figurative sculptor Sir Richard MacDonald.
Celebrating 30 years of sculpture this year, Richard completed his one-of-a-kind “Angelic Crystal, Carrara Marble” this past summer.
Creating a sculpture out of clay seems impossible to most of us as the artist must bring form to the shapeless – creating something out of nothing. From the artist’s perspective the ease of working with clay is that if the sculptor removes too much material it can be reshaped or even replaced – clay is a forgiving material.
Not so with marble. Once a piece has been removed from a block of marble there is no putting it back. It is as unforgiving as a material can be for an artist as there is no returning from a mistake.
Understanding this dramatic distinction between the two mediums allows the observer to more fully appreciate Richard’s latest sculpture from Carrara marble. This type of marble is a high quality marble used specifically in sculpture and building décor and is white or blue-gray in color. It is quarried in the city of Carrara which is located in the northern most tip of Italy.
After the initial clay sculpture has been created it is cast in plaster. This plaster mold then becomes the model by which a block of marble is rough cut by an artisan at the quarry in Carrara, Italy.
A pointing device is used to accurately measure and replicate a one-to-one copy of the original out of plaster, wax or clay. The marble was then shipped from Italy to Richard’s studio in Monterrey, CA where he finalized the carving.
To learn more about this centuries old practice, watch this Smithsonian video which illustrates the same process used to transfer Richard’s original sculpture onto marble.