Bronze—A Timeless Material for Contemporary Art and Sculpture

Bronze is a legendary metal, conjuring up images of antiquity and the eternal. Not only has bronze been in use for millennia, it weathers time better than other materials, enduring through the ages and giving us a rare glimpse into the world of our ancestors. It’s also a connection to artists of the past—artists have been drawn to bronze since ancient times. More versatile than marble, and enhanced by a unique color and patina, it has been used throughout history for all types of artistic expression, from decorations and tiny figurines to life-size sculptures. And bronze is still inspiring artists, thousands of years after its invention. The ancient traditions and craftsmanship of past eras are still in use today in contemporart art and sculptures, albeit with new subjects and themes, creating a rare juxtaposition of the past and present.

Bronze in History

Bronze is an alloy, a mixture of copper and another metal, usually tin. The classic bronze used in casting in ancient times generally contained 90% copper and 10% tin. There is evidence of its use as early as 4500 BC, but archeological evidence indicates that it only became widespread many centuries later in Sumeria, where it was used to replace stone tools like knives and ax-heads.  From Mesopotamia, bronze spread to Persia where it was used to create ornaments as well weapons. As casting techniques improved, artisans began to create life-sized human figures, as well as smaller, highly detailed sculptures and works of art. Within a few centuries, bronze was used widely in various regions worldwide, from Egypt to China.  Bronze in China The antiquity of the material and its casting techniques appealed to artist Assi Meshulam, who recently joined the Pasal project out of a curiosity to explore bronze – a material that appeals to him conceptually, but that lack of access has prevented him from using in the past. In addition to a degree in Fine Arts, Assi also has degrees in Archeology and Biblical Studies and he explains how they are connected to this new endeavor. “I focus on art, but archeology has never left me—my work is very much influenced by ancient cultures,” he says. “I’m very interested in ritual, and ritualism is connected to bronze, it’s connected to ancient sculpture. Making something from bronze makes it more eternal, above time, and that is something that I want to experience.”

Bronze Casting Techniques

Today, the millenia-old bronzework techniques are still being used in modern foundries like AP Casting (founder of Pasal). However, the ancient craft has been enhanced and improved with cutting-edge tools, materials, and methods. 

Lost-Wax Casting 

Lost-wax casting, also known as investment casting, is an ancient technique that is still used in bronzework today. The first evidence of its use was found in Nahal Mishmar, a short drive from the current site of the A.P. Casting Foundry. Lost wax casting

Connecting Contemporary & Emerging Artists with Bronze

Bronze encompasses an ancient tradition of excellence, attention to detail, and expert finishing. However, given its cost and complexity, it hasn’t always been accessible to artists. That’s why foundries like ours are looking for unique ways to enable contemporary and emerging artists to explore these timeless materials and techniques. As part of this vision, we founded Pasal – an exclusive space where artists can draw inspiration from classic craftsmanship and apply it to their modern creations. In parallel, we’re also giving connoisseurs and art-enthusiasts exclusive access to these unique and handpicked works of art. Artist Shay ID Alony, who joined the Pasal project with a vision to give new expression to his sculptures, reflected on his past experience with bronze and why he recently decided to join the Pasal project. “I began my artistic career in bronze, as an apprentice to Uri Katzenstein, an established artist. Then I set out on my own, and I haven’t touched bronze since—as a young artist, I didn’t want the costs or the material itself to limit my creativity. I preferred technologies that allowed me to work independently,” says Shay Alony. “But now, when Pasal contacted me, the material felt very right. It awakened a kind of nostalgia and a deep curiosity within me. When you have a question mark, it makes you want to investigate, and I’m interested in investigating what I can do with bronze, how I can work with the material, with the foundry.” Sharon Zargary, a contemporary artist who has worked with bronze in the past, but only as a student, explains why he connected with our vision and joined the project. “Bronze is a challenging material. It has a classic presence, and makes the sculpture eternal. I wanted to join this project as I believed that making something modern with such a classic material would be fascinating. Bronze brings up associations of figurative sculptures and impacts what you imagine making from it, challenging you to break these preconceptions and create something different.”  At Pasal, we’re excited to embark on this fascinating project where contemporary and class come together to create new visions. If you’re an artist looking to create your sculptures with bronze, contact us and we can explore our options together.

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