Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Greek Architecture and Sculpture

One of my first projects this year is to run a stone carving and sculpture course for a group of Lower 6th school pupils.  They are studying Greek architecture and stone sculpture and want to have some 'hands on' experience to better understand how the Greeks worked and created their sculpture.

For me this is a very exciting prospect - as a sculptor in stone, I have been delighted, inspired by and often referred to Greek art, and for me there is no greater expression of it than in its sculpture.  

I know I am going to learn a lot myself during this course. To begin, I'm now re-reading a favourite on my bookshelf, Greek Sculpture by John Boardman, to refresh - and it is of course taking me to lots of other sources for further information.  An article recently scribed by Stephen Fry caught my eye too - A Modest Proposal which reminds us of their extraordinary achievements.

I will be keen to point out to the students that the tooling used by them on the course, will be very similar to the chisels - point, drove, flat chisel and the rasps, used by the Greeks.  Not only did the Greeks make manifold progress in terms of form (patterns and proportions were of prime importance),  they also made strides in progress with tooling.  Their woodworking techniques had given rise to the use of many tools, adapted for use with stone, but they also invented the claw chisel, usually five-toothed and about 1.5 cm wide, and this, in its same form, is still used (my favourite chisel) today.

So I'm busy with the Greeks, with lots of preparation to do, which I am thoroughly enjoying!  I'm going to try and organise a Greek meal for them to have at lunch time too, and wonder if I can learn a little Greek speak before February, at least a few sculpture phrases I think.  They are going to have to work hard these students, but the results will be brilliant - their tutor is coming too, to help me keep them at it - I'm very much looking forward to the results.


  1. Wonderful! Your sixth form students are so fortunate to be introduced to Greek sculpture at such an early stage.
    The National Museum in Athens, and the smaller ones around Greece are the most amazing places. Have you been?

    Looking forward to more beautiful Greeks as your course progresses!

  2. Regret little travelled, but would love to visit - better go on my do soon list - its getting huge!


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