A How-To Guide for Displaying Sculptures In Your Collection
Displaying artwork so it can be truly appreciated is one of the best aspects of owning art, but it can also be one of the most difficult, especially with sculptures.
Unlike two-dimensional artwork, sculptures from artists like Nano Lopez, Romero Britto, or Peter Max require more than just the perfect wall for display. Finding the right place to optimally showcase these multi-dimensional works might seem difficult at first, but if you use these tips, you’ll be displaying sculptures like a pro in no time.
Sculptures: What Room and Where
Since sculpture is a three-dimensional art form, these works should be viewable from multiple angles. Think of them like viewing theatre in the round, rather than theatre on a standard proscenium stage.
Placing them in the center of the living room might seem like the easy answer, but if doing so obstructs the room’s traffic flow, you may want to choose a different spot. The last thing you want to do is start thinking of your new artwork as a frustrating obstruction.
Generally, displaying at eye level is recommended for optimal viewing. These eye lines may help determine where in the room a sculpture can go without interfering with the room’s functionality.
Shelves are an ideal spot, such as recessed spaces in walls or within a bookcase. Side tables in bedrooms and living rooms are also great locations, as they are typically out of the way. Lamps on these tables can then serve a dual purpose—lighting the room and lighting the artwork.
Lighting the Way
Of course, as with other works of art, lighting plays a big role in displaying sculptures. Too much light will wash out the details, while not enough hides them. Sculptures should be well-lit by diffused light sources, which can include daylight from windows.
However, avoid these situations when possible:
- Light directly below: Remember when, as a child, you would shine a flashlight underneath your face to scare someone? Stay away from this horror movie look for your art.
- Light directly behind: If light is shining from behind, it washes everything out and makes viewing difficult.
- Spotlights: Sure, you want the artwork to be the star, but a single, dramatic light will hide its intricate features in equally dramatic shadows.
There are some exceptions, of course. Sculptures made of transparent materials are perfect candidates for a lighted pedestal, which adds a new element to their presentation.
Picking a Pedestal
Smaller sculptures may be ideal on shelves and tables, but a larger work will benefit from a pedestal. Choose a material for the pedestal that will not look out of place in the room in question. Additionally, whether it’s small or large, the pedestal should not draw attention away from the sculpture, but instead, it should blend in with the rest of the room.
When deciding on the location for a large sculpture and/or its pedestal, determine if its placement would hinder or block any walking paths. Most importantly, a pedestal should be sturdy enough to hold the sculpture.
Keep these tips in mind when displaying sculptures and your works will certainly add a new dynamic to your home or office.
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