“I have been intrigued by bas-relief ever since I studied Rodin's magnificent 'Gates of Hell' ” — Shray
Known mainly for her graceful entwined free-standing sculptures, Shray is embarking on a new body of work: bas-relief. She is working with two of her most in-demand pieces to create high bas-reliefs that promise to be stunning. The new work is expected to be released early this spring.
This new piece (at left), derived from the prize-winning "Balance", is available in3/4 life-size and 30" (approx).
Click on image at left for larger view.
HISTORY OF BAS-RELIEF: Bas-relief is a very ancient art in which a flat surface is carved or etched away to create a picture or scene. Artists have used many mediums – stone, clay, wood, marble and bronze. The sculpture stands out from the flat background but is not detached from it. Some historians believe that bas-relief pre-dated sculpturing in the round.
Some of the earliest examples of this sculptural style appeared in the Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite cultures. Bas-relief was also plentiful in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and in China and India. Of course, examples of exquisite and detailed bas-reliefs from later periods when the Greeks and Romans made use of the technique can be seem in museums worldwide.
Bas-relief is taken from the Italian “basso relievo,” which means “raised contrast.” Among the most famous historical Bas-reliefs is the Elgin Marbles – or Parthenon Marbles – that are housed in the British Museum in London. A special room was built to display 247 feet of bas-relief sculpture from the original 524 feet.
There are three distinct types of reliefs – high relief, low (bas) relief and sunken relief. In a high relief, the figures stand far out from the background surface but remain attached to the background. With low or bas-relief the figures are more shallow and integral to the background. Sunken relief is also known as “intaglio. In this method, figures are carved into the flat surface and the highest points are level with the surface.
Shray’s bas-reliefs follow the high-relief style to create a contemporary piece while using this ancient process. “This is a marriage of yesterday and today,” Shray said. “This work is timeless, yet timely. I am very excited to offer these to my family of collectors and friends.”
Donatello’s Pazzi Madonna dates to about 1422 and is an example of bas-relief carved in marble. It is housed at the Bodemuseum in Berlin.