Types of Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Media


Read this section on the main types of sculptural media. Make sure you can identify them by name.

Sculpture can be freestanding or self-supported, where the viewer can walk completely around the work to see it from all sides, or created in relief, where the primary form's surface is raised above the surrounding material, such as the image on a coin. Bas relief refers to a shallow extension of the image from its surroundings; high relief is where the most prominent elements of the composition are undercut and rendered at more than half in the round against the background. Rich, animated bas-relief sculpture exists at the Banteay Srei temple near Angor Wat, Cambodia. Here humans and mythic figures combine in depictions from ancient Hindu stories.

Bas-relief sculpture at the temple Banteay Srei, Angor, Cambodia. 10th century. Sandstone

Bas-relief sculpture at the temple Banteay Srei, Angor, Cambodia, 10th century. Sandstone

The Shaw Memorial combines freestanding, bas, and high-relief elements in one masterful sculpture. The work memorializes Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth regiment, the first African-American infantry unit to fight for the north in the civil war.

Saylor Academy Knowledge Check

Source: Christopher Gildow, http://opencourselibrary.org/art-100-art-appreciation/
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Last modified: Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 4:06 PM