Sculpting Glossary

What is Casting in Sculpture?

August 30, 2023 by

In this article, we’ll be diving into everything you need to know about casting in sculpture.

After reading this guide, you’ll know what casting is, examples of casting in sculpture, it’s importance, and lots more.

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What is Casting in Sculpture?

Casting in sculpture refers to the process of creating a three-dimensional reproduction of an original artwork or model, typically made of a moldable material such as clay, wax, or plaster. This involves pouring a liquid or molten material such as metal or resin into a mold, allowing it to harden, and then removing the mold to reveal the final cast sculpture.

The basic need of casting is to make difficult and complex shapes that are nearly impossible to make by simple methods and techniques.

Heavy machinery and shapes like ships, beds, and other objects can be cast easily rather than made by joining different smaller objects one by one.

Casting is the oldest known sculpting technique out there, and it is said to be in use since 3200 BC.

Casting in Sculpture

Casting Sculpture Examples

Here are some examples of casting sculpture techniques and their associated works:

1. Bronze Casting

Example Sculpture: “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin

Description: “The Thinker” is one of Rodin’s most famous sculptures. It depicts a man in a contemplative pose, with his hand on his chin, deep in thought. This sculpture was originally part of a larger work called “The Gates of Hell.” The bronze casting technique was used to create multiple versions of “The Thinker.”

2. Plaster Casting

Example Sculpture: “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Description: This sculpture captures the moment of spiritual ecstasy experienced by Saint Teresa. The drapery and details of the sculpture were crafted using plaster casting. The play of light and shadow on the sculpture’s surface adds to its dramatic effect.

3. Resin Casting

Example Sculpture: “Balloon Dog” by Jeff Koons

Description: Jeff Koons is known for his large-scale sculptures that often reference pop culture and consumer objects. “Balloon Dog” is a series of sculptures resembling twisted balloon animals. These sculptures are made using stainless steel molds and cast in high-quality resin, giving them a reflective and vibrant appearance.

4. Lost-Wax Casting

Example Sculpture: “David” by Donatello

Description: “David” is a bronze sculpture from the Italian Renaissance period. The lost-wax casting technique was used to create this sculpture, involving a complex process of creating a wax model, encasing it in clay, melting the wax, and pouring molten bronze into the clay mold. This technique allowed for intricate details in the final bronze sculpture.

5. Sand Casting

Example Sculpture: “The Gates of Hell” by Auguste Rodin

Description: “The Gates of Hell” is a monumental sculptural group that includes various figures and scenes. Rodin used a sand casting technique to create this work, which involved making a mold using sand and then pouring molten bronze into the mold. This technique allowed for larger and more complex sculptures.

6. Cold-Casting

Example Sculpture: “Walking Man” by Alberto Giacometti

Description: Giacometti often used the cold-casting technique, which involves mixing metal powders (like bronze or aluminum) with a resin or polymer. “Walking Man” is a slim, elongated figure that reflects Giacometti’s exploration of existential themes and human isolation.

7. Ceramic Slip Casting

Example Sculpture: “Bird in Space” by Constantin Brâncuși

Description: Brâncuși’s “Bird in Space” series features abstract, elongated forms that suggest the essence of flight. Some of these sculptures were created using ceramic slip casting, where liquid clay (slip) is poured into a plaster mold and allowed to set.

Why is Casting Important in Sculpture?

Casting is very important in the process of sculpting.

It is believed almost 70 percent of the artists believed that the process of casting and molding is more necessary to sculpture-making than other methods.

Casting and molding have other benefits as well.

Both these processes save time and reduce costs very much, and this cost is adjusted into other things.

It also reduces errors in work and lessens problems. As the liquid is used in the process, it can be checked again until the final product is made.

What are the Materials Needed for Casting?

Casting involves making mold and pouring liquid material, such as molten metal, plastic, rubber, or fiberglass into the skin.

A cast is a form created by this process. The artist produces many images to model the form (usually clay, wax, or concrete).

This is used to create the mold that should be removed from it. The mold can be cast more than once, allowing artists to make drawings.

Casting materials are mostly metals of different time settings that cure two or more objects after mixing.

Clay, plaster, concrete, and epoxy are the materials that are mostly used in casting.

Tips for Casting in Sculpture

Casting is a slow process. Although it is slow, this process is more secure, reduces effort, and provides time savings.

The casting process has three main tips to make it final:

1. Mold Filing

The casting method starts with mold filling.

In this method, the liquid is filled in a hollow shape. The liquid is mainly molten material of mainly metal.

2. Solidification

Solidification is the second method. In this, the liquid molded into a hollow shape is made to remain there to make it solid.

Once the liquid becomes a little hard, then it is ready for the next process.

3. Cooling

Cooling is the final step of the casting in which the casting sculpture takes the final form. Water is used to cool down the solid shape and once, it becomes solid, the final Sculpture is ready to go.

To further explore how to perform casting, we also recommend this video by Crafty Art:

Popular Casting Sculpture Artists


Italian sculptor, Donatello, was instrumental in furthering the arts and culture during the Italian Renaissance.

Mainly worked in Florence, and much of his work is still found in the city today.

His bronze statue of David marks a turning point in art, as he was the first to stand naked in antiquity.


Artist Bernini is known for her amazing ability to make moves and express feelings about her work.

In his hands, the marble turns into a soft flesh that looks real, wanting to stretch it out and squeeze it. He served in this field for more than 70 years.

Auguste Rodin

Rodin continues to be one of the most famous artists globally, with his well-known work, “The Thinker,” appearing in various bands around the world.

Rodin is known for his ability to sacrifice authenticity and embellishment using texture, detail, light, and dignity to convey emotions.

His focus on inner emotion and suffering is a turning point in art history and serves as a symbol of Modernity.

Final Remarks

Casting has helped the field of Sculpture, and it made the artists’ work quite easy.

Through casting, the artist can break down the Sculpture process into three ways and take steps one by one toward the final Sculpture.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is casting useful for a sculpture?

Casting is useful for a sculpture because it allows the artist to create multiple copies of the original sculpture. This can be useful for creating editions or series of sculptures, as well as for creating backup copies of important works.

What is the difference between molding and casting?

Molding is the process of making a mold from an original sculpture, while casting is the process of creating a replica of the original sculpture from the mold using a variety of materials such as plaster, bronze, or resin.