A bronze woodturners statue, made by Julien Dillens (1849 – 1904) in Belgium in the second half of the 19th century
This sculpture is made by belgian sculptor Julien Dillens, the son of Hendrick Joseph Dillens. Julien Dillens was born in Antwerp on the 8th of June in 1849. His career took a flight with the ‘Prix de Rome’ for his work ‘A Gaulish Chief taken Prisoner by the Romans’. The ‘Prix de Rome’ is an award for young artists and students, created in 1832. He studied for years at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussel.
Julien Dillens was awarded the medal of honor in 1889 at the Paris Universal Exhibition for his work ‘Figure Kneeling’ (Brussels Gallery) and ‘Hippolyte Metdepenningen’ (Palais de justice Ghent). He was given a similar award again in 1900 for his two statues for the Anspach Monument in Brussels. After a short but successful life, Julien Dillens died in Brussels on the 24th of December in 1904 to the effects of cancer.
Bronze sculptures are often called simply a ‘bronze’, just because this metal is used most for sculptures. The choice for bronze arises from the desirable and advantageous assets of expanding a bit before it sets. In such this way, the finest details of a mould will be filled with bronze to create the best sculptures. Even more advantage is the property of shrinking when it cools, making it easier to separate from the detailed mould. A number of distinct casting processes are used for making bronzes. Lost-wax casting, sand casting and centrifugal casting are the most used casting methods.
Nowadays, bronze is still a precious metal and could easily be stolen to be melted down. During the first and second world war, a lot of sculptures were melted down to make weapons or ammunition. Luckily a generous number of sculptures were preserved in museums and in private collections. Possibly the first bronze ever made (and preserved) dates back from 2300-1750 BCE and it is held by the national museum in New Delhi.
Many different bronze alloys exist. The most common alloy for bronze is 88% copper and 12% tin. Classic and statuary bronze consists mostly of 90% copper and 10 % tin. The term bronze is tending to be regarded in museums and replaced in descriptions as ‘a copper alloy’, mostly seen for older objects.