What Does Sculpture Add as An Art Form?

When trying to find the perfect gift for the art-lover in your life, it can be easy to go down the same routes of paintings or prints every time. But an often overlooked form of art for gifting is sculpture. So what does sculpture bring to the table that other art does not?

The most obvious difference between sculpture and many other forms of traditional art is that sculpture is three-dimensional. Unlike two-dimensional art forms such as painting and drawing, sculpture has a depth that makes it feel much more robust and gives it a life-like quality that is missing from many other artistic mediums. This is especially evident in pieces like True Friend, which captures every detail from the muscles and veins of the horse’s face right down to the orchard in the woman’s hair with complete anatomical accuracy. Or in Buleria, where the rapid, improvised twirling of the Buleria flamenco dancer is captured through the soft, organic sculptural form and movement of her flowing dress.

Lladró’s True Friend is anatomically accurate, right down to the veins on the horse’s face (left). The passionate movement captured in the Buleria flamenco dancer figurine brings the sculpture to life (right).

Learn more about the anatomical accuracy of Lladró’s horses.

Another thing that sculpture delivers is the ability to be displayed in many different ways. Because two-dimensional art is flat and one-sided, it can only really be displayed on a wall. But sculptures are able to be displayed in virtually any space, meaning that even if the person you’re buying for has limited wall space or can’t hang things because they’re renting, they can still display their sculptural art. Many pieces, like Lladró’s Panther with Cub, can also be viewed from many different angles, so when you display it on a shelf or table it will still look amazing no matter where you see it from. And as an added bonus, if you ever get bored of looking at your piece you can just turn it around or move it to a different spot to discover a whole new view.

This added dimension and moveability also create a very different interaction with light and space compared to a 2D artwork. Whereas two-dimensional art is hung flat against a wall and doesn’t really interact with the space it’s displayed in, the extra dimension of a sculpture gives the room a focal point, and gives us more context to the way that the many elements of the space — size, layout, light, and shadow — interact with each other to form a complete room.

This interaction with light and shadow in particular can also impact the way the sculpture itself is viewed. For glazed sculptures, the way that light is reflected off of a piece can have a drastic impact on its overall look, as different sculptural elements are highlighted or played down. For example, for a piece like Flowers for Everyone, the lighting might highlight the delicate features of the woman figurine, or in a different space might better highlight the intricate detail of the handcrafted flowers. In contrast, matt porcelain does not pick up and reflect the light in the same way. Rather, the light places emphasis on the shadows, which in turn add a depth to the pieces that allows the technical sculptural details to be more fully appreciated. In pieces like Contemporary Dancer and Paternal Protection, this can be used to emphasise the incredible detail in the anatomy of the figurines, like the hands, muscles, or facial features.

So if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for the art lover in your life, check out the suggestions below for our top sculptural picks. We also offer complimentary gift wrapping! If you’re ordering multiple items and only want a few wrapped, be sure to let us know at checkout.

Lladró’s Black Panther with Cub is experienced very differently when viewed from two different angles, but it is still stunning when displayed either way (left). From the side, you see the strength of the panther’s body, while from the front the focus is on the mother’s fierce eyes and protectiveness of her cub (right).


Lladró’s Contemporary Dancer shows how differences in light and shadow can change the look of a matt piece (left). You can see how the natural shadow of sunlight through a window emphasises the dancer’s form compared to studio lighting (right).


In this natural light, the face of the woman in Flowers for Everyone is obscured by shadow so the flowers are highlighted (left). But at a different angle and under a direct light source, the woman’s face becomes the main focus of the piece (right).


Even in the same lighting, the Paternal Protection fatherhood sculpture looks very different when the angle is changed (left). Just by changing which side of the piece the light hits, its obvious how the changing shadows emphasise and obscure parts of the sculpture (right).


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