Most of us are very familiar with Rip’s bronze sculptures, but we thought it would be fun to take a look at some famous sculptures, a few of which we were surprised to learn were actually bronze!

One such piece is Prometheus—you know… the iconic golden guy at Rockefeller Center in New York City. In 1933 contemporary American sculptor, Paul Manship was commissioned to create a focal piece for this public location and Prometheus was born. The model for Prometheus was a man named Leonardo Nole. Inscribed in the wall behind the sculpture: “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends.” Prometheus is considered one of the most familiar public sculptures, but it is told that of his over 700 pieces, this was not a favorite of Manship’s.

The Thinker
, by Auguste Rodin, was originally named The PoetThe Thinker was originally to depict Dante sitting on a rock in front of the Gates of Hell pondering the poem and the characters of the Devine Comedy. Feeling this depiction of Dante would be without meaning, Rodin “conceived another thinker, a naked man, seated on a rock, his fist against his teeth, he dreams. The fertile thought slowly elaborates itself within his brain. He is no longer a dreamer, he is a creator.” Sculpted in Paris, it was first displayed at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and then given to the city of Louisville, KY. This particular piece was the first and only one of all created using the lost-wax casting method.

If you are a fan of western art, then surely you recognize Frederick Remington’s Bronco Buster. Considered the most popular of the artist’s pieces, Bronco Buster was created in 1895 and was also his first sculpture. You might be surprised to learn that Remington was a native New Yorker, only living for a short time in Montana. He attended Yale University for art, but preferred football and boxing to his declared major. Between the ages of 19 and 25 he was a reporter, a rancher, owned a hardware business and saloon, and began dabbling as a sketch artist. He became a magazine illustrator, oil painter, published writer and eventually started sculpting. Bronco Buster is still being cast today using the lost wax method.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Little Dancer of Fourteen Years
is a sculpture by Edgar Degas of a dancer named Marie van Goethem. The original was made in 1881 of flesh toned wax with actual clothes of linen, muslin and satin. Degas sculpted over 100 pieces using this wax, a material he loved because of its malleability. The first cast pieces were made of plaster and it wasn’t until 1922 that the piece was cast in bronze. Little Dancer of Fourteen Years was first exhibited with mixed reaction. The face was considered unattractive and misshapen, and because the sculpture was displayed in a glass case, it was also perceived to be clinical, as if a medical specimen. This was the only sculpture Degas exhibited in his lifetime. The original was sold at Sotheby’s in 1999 for over 12 million dollars.

Inspired by Michelangelo, Henry Moore, decided at a very early age he wanted to become a sculptor. Relatively classical in his early work, Moore’s eventually became recognized as a daring, modern abstract artist. Moore often used the subjects of mother and child in his sculptures, as in Reclining Connected Forms. Moore says about his piece, “In my sculpture there are three recurring themes: mother with child; the reclining figure; large form protecting small form. In this sculpture I have united all three. I draw on human feelings of man. The need of protection is one of these primary instincts.” At the time of his death in 1986, Moore’s abstract monuments had become viewable in countless public locations all over the world.  Reclining Connected Forms was cast in bronze in an edition of 9. It is also viewable in marble at the Aria Hotel, City Center, Las Vegas.

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