Sculpture Unit 3

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Unit 3

When one speaks of sculpture today, works in a variety of materials come to mind because the parameters of "sculpture" have been vastly expanded. Mobiles, stabiles, installations and assemblages are all included as forms of sculpture and each may be made out of a variety of materials. The sculpture made by Augustus Saint-Gaudens follows the traditional approach of modeling in clay. It is this process which is explored in the lessons of Unit 3.


  • Students will be able to identify sculptural terms and types of traditional


  • Students will research and write a short, biographical paper of one of the Cornish Colony sculptors (refer to “The Cornish Colony: A List of Members” handout). Footprints of the Past, Circle of Friends, and the CD‑ROM will be essential.

  • Students will learn how Saint‑Gaudens and Cornish Colony sculptors worked.

  • Students will learn about the process of modeling in clay and can try the process themselves in related Activities 4, 5, and 6.


This unit involves art history, research and writing, note taking and observation applied to analytical skills and hands‑on experience with clay.

Supports NH English Language Arts Uses, especially Curriculum Standards #5, #6 and #7 (to grade level) and NH Framework for the Arts, especially Curriculum Standard #4: analyze the visual arts in relation to history and culture, p.40.
Instructional Strategies:

  • Guided Discussion: The teacher will lead a discussion about sculpture, introducing students to terms and processes. As the list of glossary words develops from the discussion, the teacher will write them on the blackboard or on chart paper for later reference. (Use the “What Have You Learned?” worksheet to confirm student knowledge.)

  • Video: Students will watch Wax Blood/ Bronze Skin (26 min.) about the lost wax casting process used to transform a clay sculpture into bronze.

  • Written Assignment: Students will write a short research paper on a Cornish Colony sculptor or a contemporary artist.

  • Learning to Look”: Using the three laminated photographs of “Diana,” students will complete a sculpture analysis worksheet on their own or in cooperative groups.

  • Video: Students will watch the video The Medal Maker"(30 min.) about the life and work of the artist Laura Gardin Fraser. (This video provides an excellent gender role model.) This may be followed by Activity 6, "Designing a Medal."

Follow‑up Activities:

These activities will provide hands-on experience working with clay and should best be done in conjunction with the Art teacher.

  • Activity 4- Sculpture in the Round

  • Activity 5- Creating a Bas-Relief

  • Activity 6- Designing a Medal or Coin (can be used as a drawing exercise)

Resources/materials to be provided by the teacher:

    • Flip chart/markers

    • Videos: Wax Blood/Bronze Skin and The Medal Maker

    • 3 photos of "Diana"


      • What Have You Learned” worksheet

      • Assistants of Augustus Saint-Gaudens” handout

      • Learning to Look:” Sculpture Analysis Worksheet

Glossary Words:

additive process high relief

allegory inscription

armature lost wax casting

bas relief maquette

bronze patina (patination)

plaster pedestal

bust pointing machine

clay sketch portrait

collaborate realistic or representational sculpture

exedra reduction

foundry relief sculpture

freestanding sculpture sculpture in the round

heroic size subtractive process

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