You Can't Wear This: Clothing in Sculpture

Floaty, draped, ruched: all words that describe clothing more than stone or metal. Yet for centuries sculptors and artists have been turning stone, metal, wood, and plaster into incredibly realistic and detailed depictions of clothing. It can boggle the mind the way artists are able to depict clothing, which is flexible, in solid materials while maintaining the feel of movement. This exhibition examines sculpture across the centuries from the second century BCE to the present day. Throughout time, artists have used various mediums for sculpting, each with their own difficulties. Early sculptures depict figures from various belief systems, yet their clothing is popular for the specific time period. Prominent figures always wish to be depicted in the most impressive way possible and models for artistic pieces were often prominent entertainers. No matter the subject depicted, each piece evokes a sense of movement and texture that begs the question- How is that not real clothing?

This statue of Aphrodite is clothed in a dress fit for royalty of the time. The artist created a draped effect that seems ready to move. The fabric twists as it surrounds the figure.
This Buddha is wearing outer robes that flow around the pedestal where he sits and meditates.
Made of wood, this Mary's layers of dress and robe are expertly carved and appear ready to fall gracefully around her if she were to stand.
The swirling robes and lace collar of King Louis are made more unbelievable by the fact that the sculptor, Bernini, took five months to complete this bust.
This pair of lovers, dressed in splendid court clothes, are actually servants. The porcelain pair are embellished with gold, ruffles, and colorful flowers and bows.
Hebe, the goddess of youth, is draped in a dress with folds that don't seen to be made of marble.
This plaster model of Marie-Loise holds every bit of detail as the final funerary monument in stone. The pleats in her dress are crisp and the lace around the collar can be made out.
This chrysephantine sculpture is a combination of ivory and bronze. The details in the whirling skirt include tassels, fringe, and a belt embellished with a red and black zig zag.
This tin glazed earthenware figure is wearing a traditional Spanish dress and Manila shawl. The shawl has flowers that appear raised, as if embroidered, as well as a long fringe.
This evening dress is molded out of glass and almost appears to be a real garment. The only hint that it is made of glass are the seams from joining the multiple pieces together.
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