How to find out what is high quality bronze sculpture and how to fix and maintain a bronze statue?
Metal is typically considered the strongest and most durable kind of material that you can make sculptures out of. Bronze in particular has a famous historical relevance as the alloy that transformed human civilization forever, and ushered in a new era of durable, malleable technology. Today, we continue to use bronze due to its versatility, strength, and visual beauty, and modern bronze sculptures are at home in the garden as much as they are indoors.
However, bronze comes with its own list of challenges. Because of how easy it is to mold and pour, it can also be vulnerable to wear over time. Additionally, on a chemical level, bronze is famous for its tendency to oxidize: exposure to moisture a long period of time causes corrosion and the creation of a green film called patina, which has become almost as famous as traditional bronze coloring thanks to its abundant presence on the most famous and significant bronze sculptures throughout history.
If your bronze sculpture is suffering from wear and tear or corrosion, the culprit is almost always moisture. It can not only cause the growth of organic molds and lichen, but it can also cause cracks from expanding in the cold. The green corrosion of patina is also caused by a chemical reaction that exists in the presence of water. The bad news is that moisture is almost impossible to avoid. The good news is that chemical processes such as these are also able to be reversed, also through chemistry.
Something that might surprise new owners of bronze sculptures is that the familiar green discoloration called “patina” is not the enemy of the restorer, and should not be the main target of people trying to clean their bronze sculptures. In many cases, over-polishing the statue may backfire, and furthermore, patina can be used to prove authenticity or to provide a certain artistic aesthetic. Ancient Greek sculptures may suffer from hundreds of years of corrosion, but modern bronze sculptures for sale can often use this green coloration for a visual impact.
This fascinating modern bronze sculpture is an undeniable example of patina as an artistic choice.
The depiction of a modern working man, weathered and weighted down by the oppression of his noble pursuit of a living,
is here aged and battered intentionally, as if the man has been standing at his post for decades already.
Cleaning this discoloration off of the statue would be a severe disservice to its message and to its visual beauty and style. However, after many years have passed, the corrosion levels may exceed this point and begin to detract from the bronze sculpture’s beauty. It's always up to the discretion of the sculpture owner or the restorative artist as to when we should hold back on these natural embellishments.
Another, much more lighthearted example of artistic patina is this quirky goblin statue, where the goblin’s bronze skin is contrasted with the naturally aged green of his tunic and hat. It’s a simple distinction, but quite genius in how it uses natural chemistry as a coloring agent that will not wear or fade over time. Not only is it more subtle and enduring than paint, but it also lends itself to a rugged and naturalistic appearance that suits the goofy little goblin’s woodland-dwelling character.
But as with everything, too much can be too much. Excess patina can be cleaned off using gentle natural oils with microfiber cloth. In general, when you are cleaning your bronze sculpture, never use abrasives and never use any rough cleaning surfaces like steel wool. It may seem intuitive as you are dealing with metal, but keep in mind that the reason you are cleaning you bronze sculpture is that it has aged and fallen victim to the elements, and it is not quite as strong as it was when it was first forged. Proper cleaning and maintenance will restore that metallic strength back into your statue!
When it finally does come to cleaning your bronze, the best way to remove the common layer of metallic grease is to use mineral spirits.
Apply the mineral spirits to the bronze with a soft cloth or microfiber towel in a circular motion, always being gentle.
This is a superficial level of cleaning that will not affect corrosion or patina.
Mineral spirits are a refined version of paint thinner or rubbing alcohol. It has several quantities that make it a very useful and user-friendly substance for cleaners, handymen, and painters. Far less abrasive than its similar cousins, mineral spirits also lack the pungent odors of rubbing alcohol and paint thinner, and thanks to its higher concentration, it can also typically be used in much smaller quantities.
Corrosion can also be cleaned through similarly simple means. Instead of mineral spirits, this chemical process can be achieved by mixing chalk powder with denatured alcohol, with creates a paste that can be applied to the bronze. As always, clean gently! When you are finished cleaning, apply a layer of metal wax to your bronze sculpture for protection and shine. This layer must be maintained, and could contribute to the unseemly oils that you clean off with mineral spirits. A bronze sculptor owner’s job is never done!
This famous bronze sculpture of a woman at the river is the perfect example of a statue that benefits greatly from a waxy sheen and finish. Compare it to the other two examples we have looked at in this article, and the bronze woman’s modern gleam gives a truly ethereal and otherworldly quality to your garden. For a piece like this, you might want to be a bit more aggressive against patina than you usually might for other bronze sculptures.
Bronze sculptures used to be an unspeakable luxury that very few could afford. Today, however, bronze sculptures for sale are something that can be found in a variety of places online and in person. With this increased availability comes the need for a more widespread education on how bronze works and how to keep it clean and safe. By following some of these simple rules and carrying out these processes, you can enjoy your bronze statue for generations to come!
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