Types of relief - Sculpture

Relief is a sculptural technique. Relief is a term derived from the latin word, levo meaning raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has therefore been raised above and emanates from the background plane. Relief Sculpture is achieved through the build up of layers on a flat grounding. Where a relief is cut from a surface, there is a lowering of the field/ground, leaving the un-sculpted parts appearing to have been raised up from the surface. Donatello is a notable sculptor, and Mantegna is a painter who is known for imitating sculptural relief within his paintings. (Read more after Break)

Types and techniques of Sculptural relief are:

  • High Relief (known also as 'alto-rilievo').
  • Mid-Relief (known also as 'mezzo-rilievo').
  • Low-Relief (known also as 'basso-rilievo', and in French: 'bas-relief').
  • Sunk Relief
  • 'Squashed' Relief or shallow-relief (which was developed by Donatello and a crucial innovation in sculptural relief, this technique is also known as 'rilievo schiacciato').
The opposite of relief sculpture is:
  • Counter-Relief (Surprise, also known as intaglio, or 'Cavo-rilievo').
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