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Figural Sculptures

Because of the durable materials used, sculpture is a medium that survives better than most other forms of art. It is this durability that has allowed sculpture to maintain such a strong influence on various cultures through many eras. Figural sculpture, featuring representational figures, has upheld a particularly strong influence because it has been prevalent for so long.

The popularity of figural sculpture can be traced back to Greek antiquity, which revered sculptures that were not naturalistic but instead idealized and geometric. Around 480 B.C., classical sculpture emphasized realism and encouraged the artist's reliance on observation. It was this Greco-Roman style of sculpture that capitalized on the potential that realism had in figural art.

Realism in figural sculpture remained popular for centuries until the latter part of the 1800s ,when Auguste Rodin's rough, unfinished forms gave way to modern sculpture that no longer upheld realism. Today, figural sculptures can still be seen frequently, especially in the form of large monuments and public artwork.


Quick Facts

  • Many of Rodin's most notable sculptures were criticized for clashing with the principal tradition of figure sculpture in which works were highly decorative, formulaic, or thematic
  • Three types of figures were most common during the development of Greek sculpture: the standing draped girl, the standing nude, and the seated woman
  • As Rome grew more confident during the reign of Augustus (31 B.C.-14 A.D.), sculptures of its leaders appeared in more high-minded poses, but never leaving behind the Roman sense of gravitas

Recommended Items at Auction

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Large Italian Wood Carved Figural Statue
Jul 12, 12:00 PM EDT
Large Italian Wood Carved Figural Statue
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $200- $2,000
$1,20011 Bids
Large Brass Nude Female Figure - seated with leg bent and leaning over H: 29cm
Jul 05, 7:00 PM AEST
Large Brass Nude Female Figure - seated with leg bent and leaning over H: 29cm
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD908 Bids
Ernest Trova 'Study/Falling Man Profile Canto #83'
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
Ernest Trova 'Study/Falling Man Profile Canto #83'
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $800- $1,000
$6006 Bids
German Sterling Sculpture of Jousting Knight
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
German Sterling Sculpture of Jousting Knight
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$8506 Bids
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FRANK MEISLER 'NOAH'S ARK' LIMITED EDITION SCULPTURE PLAQUE
Jul 24, 9:00 AM MST
FRANK MEISLER 'NOAH'S ARK' LIMITED EDITION SCULPTURE PLAQUE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$555 Bids
Jane Peiser (1932-2022) Ceramic Three Figure Sculpture
Jul 12, 12:00 PM EDT
Jane Peiser (1932-2022) Ceramic Three Figure Sculpture
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $200- $2,000
$3005 Bids
German Sterling Sculpture of Jousting Knight
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
German Sterling Sculpture of Jousting Knight
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$8505 Bids
RENÉ PARIS
Jul 04, 1:00 PM CEST
RENÉ PARIS
by AAG Auctioneers
Est: €600- €1,000
€7505 Bids
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AFTER D.H. CHIPARUS "SEMIRAMIS" BRONZE
Jul 24, 9:00 AM MST
AFTER D.H. CHIPARUS "SEMIRAMIS" BRONZE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
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AFTER EDOUARD LOUIS COLLET "NOCTURNE" BRONZE SCULPTURE
Jul 24, 9:00 AM MST
AFTER EDOUARD LOUIS COLLET "NOCTURNE" BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$2005 Bids
Donald DeLue Bronze 'Jason (Triumph Over Tyranny)'
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
Donald DeLue Bronze 'Jason (Triumph Over Tyranny)'
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $800- $1,000
$7505 Bids
MIGUEL BERROCAL (1933-2006) OMAGGIO AD ARCIMBOLDO (OPUS 167), 1976-1979
Jul 07, 3:00 PM CEST
MIGUEL BERROCAL (1933-2006) OMAGGIO AD ARCIMBOLDO (OPUS 167), 1976-1979
by Tajan
Est: €2,000- €3,000
€2,2005 Bids
Erte Bronze Art Deco Female Flames Of Love
Jul 09, 1:00 PM EDT
Erte Bronze Art Deco Female Flames Of Love
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$1804 Bids
Tom Corbin 'Luna' Bronze Sculpture
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
Tom Corbin 'Luna' Bronze Sculpture
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$8504 Bids
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AFTER RODIN "AGE OF THE BRONZE" NUDE MALE SCULPTURE
Jul 24, 9:00 AM MST
AFTER RODIN "AGE OF THE BRONZE" NUDE MALE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
Composition Race Horse and Jockey Figure - gilt finish on attached base H: 25.5cm
Jul 05, 7:00 PM AEST
Composition Race Horse and Jockey Figure - gilt finish on attached base H: 25.5cm
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD354 Bids
Four Continental Giltwood Putti
Jul 14, 11:00 AM CDT
Four Continental Giltwood Putti
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $75- $150
$1504 Bids
Signed G. Valentin Mujer A/P Fiberglass Sculpture
Jul 03, 12:00 PM MST
Signed G. Valentin Mujer A/P Fiberglass Sculpture
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
Erte Bronze 'Dream Girl' Sculpture
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
Erte Bronze 'Dream Girl' Sculpture
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$8003 Bids
MIGUEL BERROCAL (1933-2006) GOLIATH (OPUS 114), 1968-1972
Jul 07, 3:00 PM CEST
MIGUEL BERROCAL (1933-2006) GOLIATH (OPUS 114), 1968-1972
by Tajan
Est: €800- €1,200
€1,4003 Bids
5 German Sterling Knights w/ Carved Bone Faces
Jul 13, 5:00 PM EDT
5 German Sterling Knights w/ Carved Bone Faces
by Abington Auction Gallery
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$8003 Bids
Coming Through The Rye Bronze Cowboy Sculpture
Jul 13, 12:00 PM EDT
Coming Through The Rye Bronze Cowboy Sculpture
by MiddleManBrokers
Est: $1- $1,000
$303 Bids
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RARE! ANTIQUE KARL GRIESBAUM WOOD CARVED WHISTLER AUTOMATON
Jul 24, 9:00 AM MST
RARE! ANTIQUE KARL GRIESBAUM WOOD CARVED WHISTLER AUTOMATON
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1503 Bids

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