What is three dimensional art sculpture?

Three-dimensional art sculptures are works of art that present the dimensions of height, width, and depth. They occupy physical space and can be perceived from all sides and angles. Traditional types of three-dimensional media, like sculptures and reliefs, are some of the oldest examples of 3D artwork. In this article, we are going to explore what 3D art sculptures are, with emphasis on different art mediums and techniques used in creating 3D artworks

Sculptures have been the main 3D art form for ages, evolving continually through different periods of art history. However, progressive art movements that boomed in the 20th century challenged the traditional perception of fine art, introducing unconventional art mediums to express their aesthetics and principles. This process resulted in the appearance of installation art and performance art as the contemporary variants of 3D media.

Three dimensional art sculpture

Traditional 3D Art Forms

In the beginning, people created statues out of stone and wood. The first preserved art object was a small, stone-carved female figurine that dates back to 230,000 years B.C. There are two traditional three-dimensional types of sculpture:

  • Free-Standing Sculpture

Free-standing sculpture is an independent art object that usually represents people, animals, or abstract motives. Artists use stone, wood, or metal to create statues, and the choice of the right art medium depends on the size and complexity of the artwork. The David Kracov collections contain several examples of typical 3D sculpture.

Types of sculpture

  • Reliefs

Unlike free-standing sculptures, relief sculptures are made from a background as elements of a larger piece of art. We can recognize several different types of reliefs. Bas reliefs are three-dimensional compositions with statues slightly standing out against a background. There are also high reliefs with statues projecting from the base. Sunk-reliefs have figures carved into the base.

3D Art Techniques

Artists have applied various techniques to manipulate stone, wood, metal, or clay and transform them into art. The choice of art medium depends on the kind of statue being created. Typically, when created three-dimensional art, people use:

  • Carving (stone or wood)

Stone or wood carving is a process of cutting out pieces of material until you get the desired shape. This is one of the oldest art techniques that date back to prehistoric times. 

  • Casting

Casting is an artistic method used when working with metal as a chosen art medium. This creative process involves pouring hot metal into pre-prepared molds to create colossal statues or compositions. Cast bronze sculptures are common representatives of this creative method.

  • Welding 

Welding blends two metal pieces to create a sculpture element. This technique is common in constructing three-dimensional pieces combining different elements.

  • Glass art techniques

There are various techniques applied in this creative process, including glass blowing, casting, and sculpting. Common cold glass techniques are engraving, rubbing, sandblasting, and acid etching.

Contemporary 3D Art Forms

The 20th century brought an end to the dominance of traditional and classic art. 

Three dimensional art sculpture



This century also marked the rise of glass art as a 3D art form. Nowadays, there are significant glass art pieces, like sculptures and installations, being created as original works of art.

This was also the beginning of installation and performance as innovative 3D art forms. Artists decided to challenge sculpture as a dominant form and turned to create large-scale installations using unconventional materials. The aim was to emphasize the issues they cared about and make them accessible to a broader audience.

Performance artists use their bodies as the medium to express their artistic visions and principles. Performance art projects may involve a variety of participants or simply one person, usually the artist. These may be multimedia events with light effects or video projections, or they may rely on audience interaction. Performance art allows artists to choose how to express themselves.

3D Digital Art

3D modeling is the creation of a three-dimensional object inside of computer software. The object can be created from simple shapes to a variety of complex objects and models. Some industries that use 3D designs for the purpose of art modeling are film, video games, and architecture. 


The evolution process of contemporary art will continue, especially with the help of advanced technologies like 3D printing that have a significant impact on the world of art.


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