The manufacture of bronzes is highly skilled work, and a number
of distinct casting processes may be employed, including lost-wax
casting (and its modern-day spin-off ceramic shell casting),
sandcasting and centrifugal casting. In the lost-wax casting
method, the artist starts with a full-sized model of the sculpture,
most often a clay model. A mold is made from the clay pattern;
a wax is then cast from the mold. The wax is then invested in
another kind of mold or shell, which is heated in a kiln until
the wax runs out. The investment is then filled with molten bronze.
Ormolou in Bronze Sculpture
Another form of sculptural metal art to use bronze is ormolou.
Ormolou is a finely cast soft bronze that is then gilded (coated
with gold) which results in a matt gold finish. ormolou was popularized
in the 18th century in France and is typically found in such
forms as wall sconces (wall mounted candle holders), Inkstands,
clocks and garnitures. ormolou wares can be identified by their
matt gold finish and clear ring when tapped, this indicating
the underlying bronze as opposed to a cheaper metal alloy such
as spelter or pewter.