It's quite remarkable how delicately works can be sculpted from a single piece of hard medium like ivory or marble. Yeah, feel welcome to read an undertone of sarcasm there.
This post is intended to be a curation of examples of what might be considered near-impossible skills with the tools and technologies that were available at the time.
Modern stone working
Ivory carved by Egidius Lobenigk between 1581 and 1584
Sculpted by a robot, these marble and stone sculptures are chiseled through the use of technology, changing from hand carving to ROBOTOR hammering.
A tool powered by self-programming software from the TorArt art studio led by FILIPPO TINCOLINI and GIACOMO MASSARI
Breaking down rough rocks and hostile elements, ROBOTOR even manages to demolish parts of the stone that the human hand could not....
(now compare these sculptures with the sculptures of the past!
The statue below is of St. Bartholomew, an early Christian martyr who had his skin flayed off him. What looks like cloth hanging around him is meant to be his own skin. Thus it should be no surprise that he is the patron saint of tanners, leatherworkers, butchers, and glove makers
This stunning Marco Dagrat statue from 1562 AD is currently on display at Domo de Milano.
"What is the secret of impossible marble statues" (make sure to use auto-translate when you watch this video)
From the video ...
When looking at this piece of art, The Rape of Proserpina, remember that this was created by 23-year-old (!) Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, in 1621.
Our youth is clearly not busy with that. He created such perfection, literally after graduation, and then, until the end of his life, no rays of glory.
Now there is a lot of controversy about how such sculptures were made.
Official history stands dead on its own - a chisel, a hammer and the genius of the master, everything that was used in the processing of marble.
... But, in the case of marble, one wrong move and all the work is in vain.
Let's start, as usual, with the background. The following sculptures, according to the official history, were made from a single piece of marble.
1. Maria Barberini Dullioli, Giuliano Finelli, 1626.
To admire, you will have to go to the Louvre. Pay attention to the facial features and the collar of the dress.
2. The Abduction of Proserpine, Giovanni Bernini, 1621-1622.
To see this marble sculpture with your own eyes, go to Rome. It is located in the Borghese Gallery.
Pay attention to the arms, legs, flexibility of the body — as if the sculpture is made of wax.
3. Ugolino and his sons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, 1857-1860.
I have to go to New York for her. Far away, but it's worth it.
Pay attention to how the sculptor depicted the fear and despair of a man who had everything, but he and his four sons were tricked into a tower and condemned to starvation.
4. Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa, 1851.
It is known for a huge number of highly artistic marble tombstones.
World-renowned sculptors have worked here at various times, including Leonardo Bistolfi, Giulio Monteverde and Eduardo Alfieri.
5. Despair, Jean-Joseph Perrault, 1868.
If you are going to admire Maria Barberini Dullioli in the Louvre, do not forget about this sculpture.
Fingers… Such performance will not leave anyone indifferent.
6. Christ under the Shroud, Giuseppe Sanmartino, Sansevero Chapel, Naples, 1752.
The chapel contains other famous sculptural masterpieces of the XVIII century.
The finest work. Don't you think that the fabric moves at the slightest breeze?
7. David, Michelangelo, Florence, 1501-1504.
The five-meter statue has long been perceived as a symbol of the Florentine Republic and one of the pinnacles of art. The original is in the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence.
The details of the sculpture are simply amazing.
Do they make similar sculptures from a single piece of marble now? They do, and here is a video of the work of such a sculptor. They want to assure us that the author of the sculpture works with the same tools that were used 200-300 years ago. But look what kind of Bulgarian is at work. There was nothing like that in sight of the old masters. And what other gadgets did this master use that were not shown to us. And as we can see from the result, the statue does not reach the level of ancient masters in terms of detail.
They were capable, supporters of official history can say. But it sounds completely unconvincing. How was it possible to make, for example, such a composition:
"Getting rid of the spell" (after 1757) was made by Francesco Quirolo and is the most famous of his works. The monument is valuable for the finest work on marble and pumice stone, from which the network is made. Quirolo was the only one of the Neapolitan craftsmen who agreed to such fine work, while the others refused, believing that at one touch of the chisel the net would crumble into pieces.
There are very big doubts that such splendor could have been made by hand, using a hammer, chisel and other similar tools. Many people have this doubt, and on this basis, many versions have appeared that it was not without alien technologies here, and these statues are made of composite materials that our current civilization is just beginning to master. There are also many questions and doubts about this version.
I caught myself thinking that I didn't believe either side. Maybe, after all, there was some kind of manufacturing secret that everyone forgot about.
Transparent veil made of marble! It would seem impossible
(enjoy the visuals, unless you understand Russian. No auto-translate option available)
The secret of making antique marble statues has been revealed!! but this is not accurate!
Turn on auto-translate to learn from Vadim Lisitsyn.
However ... then there's this demonstration
How It's Made| MARBLE SCULPTURE
Frankly, I suspect a bit of smoke and mirrors here. Call me a bit skeptical, but there's quite a lot of time leaps in this footage. We were only shown the heavy handed stuff, not the delicate work required for the finer, impossible, details.