Terracotta sculpture with gilded patina depicting a lion. Made by A. Fagotto around 1920 in France.
Armand Fagotto lived and worked mainly in France during the late 19th century and the early 20th century. His sculptures are very recognizable and he has a talent for powerfully positioning predators on rocks. He lets the strength of the animals come to the fore better through the use of tight yet flowing lines.
Terracotta is a clay-based type of earthenware with several finishes possible. Sculpturing with terracotta is simpler, quicker and has lower material costs in comparison with bronze or silver. Besides that, the artist can knead and sculpt much more freely by using his fingers or a wide arrange of knives. Tiny details can easily be created in terracotta and with that much more realistic effect as well.
After sculpting, the work of art may be glazed to produce a certain colour or rich patina. The finished product is lighter than any other stonework. But for an outdoor purpose, more care is needed. Several layers of protective cover is required and a more complex procedure to let the work dry in a correct way to prevent cracking. The same as with other stonework is the maximum limit of stress a sculpture can handle on certain points. To prevent any damages, larger terracotta sculptures need extra structural support from within. Another problem, terracotta needs to be baked to get its strength. Very large works are difficult to fire, to encounter huge terracotta sculptures nowadays has become rare.