Making a Spanish Polychrome Sculpture


Female voiceover: Underneath
its ornate exterior, the sculpture, “Saint Ginés
de la Jara,” has a core made of two hollow, wooden structures. On the bottom, is a
large, box-like section, which is reinforced inside
with a small wood block attatched on the front left. On the top, is a smaller hollow section. The two sections are then
glued and nailed together. Next, boards are attached to the sides, which will become the Saint’s robe. A piece of wood carved
to depict a knotted rope is nailed to the front. The arms and scapular,
or sleeveless vestment, are carved, then glued onto the core. Now, the rope appears to
hang behind the scapular from the Saint’s waist. Once the glue has set,
final carving is completed. To strengthen the joins,
nails are then added. The Saint’s feet, hands, and
forearms are carved separately. The left forearm and hand are
made up of two individual pieces, which are glued to a dowel. The Saint’s face is carved
separately, almost like a mask. The eyes, made of glass, are
inserted into the face from behind, and glued to the carved eyelids. The face, with eyes attached,
is then glued onto the head. With the general structure now complete, the sculpture is ready for the
intricate surface treatments of Estofado and Encarnaciones, creating the lifelike cloth
and flesh we see today. Female voiceover: Beginning
to shape the block of wood, the form would be drawn
on one of the surfaces that the sculptor chose. To start reducing the bulk of the wood, quite big tools would be
used initially to move fast, like saws or big chisels. (sawing) Once the basic shape had been achieved, it would be the equivalent
of a rough sketch, but in 3 dimensions. Then, the sculptor would move along
to using slightly finer tools. For example, chisels of various sizes. (hammering) (wood shaving) Then, using increasingly fine tools, the shape is actually brought
out of the block of wood. (wood shaving) (tools moving) Both in Central Spain, and in
Andalusia, was a great concern for the quality of wood to be
used in the carved figures. So, the craftsmen, and the
artists, and the sculptors were very, very aware of what sorts
of choices would be longer lasting, be more worthy of admiration, and so on. There was a great concern for
this high quality of materials. As the tools become smaller,
and more delicately shaped, it’s possible for the sculptor
to work on a much smaller scale, perhaps carving the shape of a
finger, and tapering it at the point, perhaps creating the relief of the nail. He would need much smaller blades,
or cutting edges, to do that. Sandpaper would be the finishing steps
in the actual carving of the wood. There’s a constant dialog in play
between the 3-dimensional form and the 2-dimensional surface decoration. They’re really meant to go hand-in-hand. One doesn’t make sense without the other. Estofado is the 2-dimensional
decorative layer that is the skin of the sculpture. To prepare the glue, sheep
skin would be boiled in water by clipping parchment
scraps to extract the glue. The next layer is called
gesso [gresso] in Spanish, the thick gesso. It’s the glue with calcium
carbonate, or calcium sulfate, natural chalks mixed into it. After the gesso [gresso],
and gesso matte is applied, they would be smoothed. (scraping) The next stage, in this laborious
method of building up these layers, would be to apply the red bole. Bole is a special kind of clay
that has traditionally been used since antiquity, as the under layer for
applying, what we call, water gilding. When it was dry, it
would first be polished, and then very importantly a burnishing
stone, which is usually an agate, compresses the layer of bole, and
brings a lustre to the surface, and also, once again, smooths the texture. It’s then ready to receive the gold leaf. the gilder would pick up the
gold leaf with a special brush called a “tip.” And, with a tiny puff of air, just
apply it onto the surface of the bole, which had been dampened
with water and alcohol. Just that tiny bit of moisture would
activate the glue in the bole layer, and it would adhere the gold. When it’s dried and burnished, on top, over the layer of gold, a layer
of tempera paint could be applied. Tempera paint is traditionally
made of egg yolk. The artist would prepare the
paints by grinding pigments and the egg yolk together. This would be applied over
the gold in various areas. In order to keep the pattern consistent, a paper pattern would be
prepared that could be pricked. (tapping) Then, tiny bits of pigment
would be transferred through those tiny holes, and
onto the surface to be decorated. Once the design is
transferred in this way, then the polychromer can start to
scratch, or scrape, the designs. By doing this, he would remove that
top layer of paint, the tempera paint, and reveal the gold underneath it. Then, further accents can
be given by using punches. Punches are metal tools that
are struck with a hammer to make a little indentation,
so the light plays across them with a little more drama than
just in the scratched areas. To finish, and give greater
subtlety to these surfaces in the texture and material, shading
and highlighting can then be done. Estofado technique of scratching away
and revealing the gold underneath gives more points for the
light to reflect from, and give greater definition
to the 3-dimensional form. The Encarnaciones mattes, matte
flesh tones, were more lifelike. They were more realistic because
clearly it differentiates the hands and faces from the
decorative surfaces of the fabrics. The wood would be initially sealed
with all of these layers of glue by brushing onto the sanded wood. Then, the next layer of
the preparation is chalk. This layer is called gesso
matte. It’s the matte gesso. (scraping) Dried gesso would be mixed
into the glue as well to start building up the gesso layer. This would then be
applied with a soft brush, and rubbed into the wooden surface,
so it’s really well integrated to that surface. When these preparation layers of
gesso in the glue have been well dried for 24 hours, they can then be
polished to give a smooth surface that will be receptive to the
paints that will then be applied. (tapping) The pigments for the flesh
tone would be prepared in oil. (scraping) In matte Encarnaciones, you
would simply paint the oil paint onto the surface that’s been
very beautifully prepared in the gesso layer. You’re to do a first layer
using a middle flesh tone, and using blue for areas
where there might be veins near the surface of the skin, and so on. Once that layer was dry,
again, the artist would return and would paint everywhere with
just a single flesh-tone color, but very, very thin, so that layers
underneath would subtly show through. Then finally, detail. For example, pink highlights
around the fingernails would be applied very delicately on
top of this general flesh-toned layer. [unintelligible] workshop
was a family workshop, so in some ways, it’s one of the
tightest collaborative relationships that we know about in 17th century Spain.

100 comments

  • TheCramunhao666

    muito bom 

    Reply
  • YouTube baby love

    هايل
    تسلم ايدك يا فنانه

    Reply
  • Steven Theo Schuster

    Crazy, That takes some skills! 

    Reply
  • Animadvertens

    How on earth did they come up with these techniques?!
    Brilliant.

    Reply
  • Inma Mont Magui

    Hi, I'm Inma. Is there video in Spanish?. thanks

    Reply
  • Darrian Weathington

    Wow, how much does it cost to get a sculpture of myself done like this.

    Reply
  • mousumi majumder

    small thing but..but..big difference  …

    Reply
  • Harold Miller

    What wood is that?

    Reply
  • Rumpelstiltskin

    amazing

    Reply
  • Ana PC

    Increíble! Esa mano salió de un trozo de madera 😳

    Reply
  • krish shiva

    superp work 

    Reply
  • Karla Gil

    I always wondered how these sculptures were made. Now I know. It is a honour we have sculptures like that in Mexico 🙂

    Reply
  • SN - Old channel

    The clothes look like normal clothes, but it's was made of woods. That suprised me!

    Reply
  • singleincincinnati

    Truly exquisite!

    Reply
  • Alfonso Vidal

    Is that Museo Nacional de Arte de España, in Valladolid?

    Reply
  • Kish Jugo

    God bless the men who had the patience to find all these beautiful techniques

    Reply
  • Abhinav Dhar

    This is a beautiful video.

    Reply
  • Danielle Issa Aboud

    very nice thank you

    Reply
  • Peter Gašperan

    wow, what kind of wood is that (used for hands for instance) so beautiful

    Reply
  • Richard Arte Digital

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful technique!

    Reply
  • Khanh Phạm Đình

    ohh my hand-saw @@

    Reply
  • Isabel de Rojas

    impresionante

    Reply
  • vega120

    🙂 ..Thx

    Reply
  • Cristina Cucu

    Foare util si profesionoist realizat .

    Reply
  • Andras Csongradi

    Egy efliratkozast meger!

    Reply
  • zyrdima

    а вот ваша работа это маразм ) есть технологии которые заменяют мартышкин труд !!!!!

    Reply
  • Vesa Girsen

    Cmon Invenor…Dude pls

    Reply
  • Alphonsus Padavano

    Very informative, I had no idea this technique even exist ed.

    Reply
  • Algae Drone

    Does seriously no one know what type of wood they used?  Anyone?

    Reply
  • William Entity

    Unfortunately all of this meticulous artistry will be replaced by 3D printers withing the decade.

    Reply
  • Swami Aadnya Videos

    hats of

    Reply
  • robslifting4life

    Wonderful statue carving. Though sloppy job on the color and paint work. It could look so much better done by someone with steadier hands and patience. plus the entire process is just overkill, when there are simpler ways.

    Reply
  • BENTLEY GT

    amazing work. thank you for sharing

    Reply
  • Fiddlekrazy Steve

    beautiful work! beautifully thorough video!

    Reply
  • Andrea Roll

    beautiful video

    Reply
  • lunhil12

    Incredibly beautiful craftsmanship!

    Reply
  • dkolv1337

    That hand in hand pun tho.

    Reply
  • tryono santoso

    mapan cong !!!

    Reply
  • Fret Flames

    This is simply aweinspiring. Difficult to to leave your videos

    Reply
  • satria kalimasada

    beauty

    Reply
  • Rafael Castejón

    What wood is?

    Reply
  • Paulina Pulido

    Esto es verdaderamente hermoso gracias por compartir

    Reply
  • Валерий Дэль

    Слов нет ,сильная работа !

    Reply
  • Mestrefalcao Artistaplástico

    I'M A SCULPTOR FRIEND AND I LIVE IN BRAZIL BUT NOT CONCIGO CHISELS WITH GOOD QUALITY STEEL HERE AND WITH GOOD FINISH YOU COULD DIRECT ME TO SOMEONE WHO MARKETS SUCH CHISELS LIKE THESE THAT YOU USE. BECAUSE I NEED OK

    Reply
  • Mestrefalcao Artistaplástico

    MY NAME AND JEFFERSON DENTIST SURGEON, BUT I LOVE THE ART YOU COULD HELP ME GIVING ME THE ELECTRONIC ADDRESS OF WHO SELLS THESE FORMOES THERE? I WILL BE OF GREAT VALUE PLEASE YES

    Reply
  • Mestrefalcao Artistaplástico

    I SEE THAT THE WOOD YOU USE AND LIGHTWEIGHT UMITO HAVE TIGHTLY CLOSED VEINS THAT WOOD AND THIS?

    Reply
  • SCOT CAMPBELL FINE ART

    So creative and wonderful, what an art, a great craft!

    Reply
  • dennis stallings

    Excellent ~~~

    Reply
  • Fernando Velazquez-Alvarez

    The amazing final result is worth the long painstaking process. Very interesting work of art!

    Reply
  • Stephanie Murray

    How can 35 people NOT like this ,,,, go away and Twitter something ,,,,,

    Reply
  • Emex- Interior Designate

    Good

    Reply
  • Jorge L. Llimargas

    There is a final step left in the spanish polychrome sculpture: The burnish of the oil paint with a lamb's bladder in order to smooth the surface left by the brush when you paint with oil. In spanish it's called: "Bruñido con vejiga de cordero".
    Anyway, this video is awesome and very didactic.

    Reply
  • EuphemiaGrubb

    I wonder why they never said what kind of wood is used?

    Reply
  • NELSON X

    Cool.

    Reply
  • Lucas Lima

    Amazing

    Reply
  • John Fraser

    Incredible, but god that scraping noise when making the paint for the skin made my skin crawl.

    Reply
  • goognam goognws

    The original carved hand is smaller than life and more finely detailed hand. The copy is bigger, bigger is easier. Modern carve tools aren't good enough.

    Reply
  • 1959Berre

    How does one carve a lion out of a block of marble? Remove anything that does not look like a lion.

    Reply
  • Anthony Rodney Alvior

    That makes sense why Spanish Polychrome Sculpture can be fall under the "Uncanny Valley" level… they're really too realistic and creepy at some point, but beautiful at the same time.

    hmmm, what do you guys think?

    Reply
  • Harvison Maldonado

    Wow, just wow, thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  • Morgan Olfursson

    Oh gosh , compared to Japanese gilding this is so bad .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aZLN5LeKgs

    Reply
  • Gustavo Ferreira

    incrivél

    Reply
  • celesti arcana

    PLEASE WE NEED A STATUE OF OUR LADY OF MT CARMEL CAN YOU HELP US ?

    Reply
  • Anirudh Sivakumar

    9:44 for a second I was confused why she was painting her own arm. Mother of god, that is super realsitic

    Reply
  • sujeet soni

    Nice work Sir…..

    Reply
  • anonymous

    4:12 manicure…

    Reply
  • Raj Kumar

    Waw very very good job brother unbelievable Jesus bless you brother amen

    Reply
  • Bron

    Are you sure they even had sandpaper in the Baroque? They certainly didn't have mass produced specified grits from the hardware store like that.

    Reply
  • Julije Jelaska

    Extraordinary! This kind of art craft is not teach at the Art Schools ….

    Reply
  • Fred Smith

    I hate to be pedantic BUT most of the chisels I saw in use are actually gouges!

    Reply
  • Reuven Gayle

    Very interesting technique.What worked hundreds of years ago still works today.Masterful work.   Bravo!

    Reply
  • Emilen Nuarot

    The greatest miracle on Earth is not God, but the work of human hands.
    Italy is the "smithy" of the divine masters.

    Reply
  • Roderick

    A spellbindingly beautiful documentary! The computer animation is sublime. This is all so very fabulous.

    Reply
  • shocklett

    And how did they know? Well intern John over there knocked it over the first day here….

    Reply
  • N English

    such amazing work

    Reply
  • Angelica C

    This is so satisfying to watch

    Reply
  • Jon Noodles

    I think its as good as Greek statues, but with the painting looks almost alive.

    Reply
  • kev3d

    Oh is that all? Well no sweat. I should have one banged out in two, three hundred years, tops.

    Reply
  • lizzymoore54

    Magnificent artistry!

    Reply
  • Kelly Ramirez

    I remember as a child gazing at the gorgeous and intricately dressed saints during Mass and being so inspired to pursue art as a career

    Reply
  • Kat nip

    😍⚒👏

    Reply
  • Beau Mclean

    Thank you for making these they are Great!

    Reply
  • djjohnnyt

    ❤️🌟

    Reply
  • Lucas Preti

    These videos are priceless

    Reply
  • edstud1

    Great video on how these sculptures were created!

    Reply
  • robert bertie

    hmmm i wonder if 1.30 explains "weeping statues"

    Reply
  • Romanes eunt domus

    I really liked the CGI, so perfectly blended with the real object

    Reply
  • Mr. Pato

    Carducho likes this video.

    Reply
  • charis128

    What a great video! Thank you

    Reply
  • faris sufyan

    4:42 intended pun?

    Reply
  • Meso Phyl

    my 3D printer did that once as well

    Reply
  • Semiramis Bonaparte

    These arts sadly lose some of their spirit when removed from the religious context to which they were created. There's something mystical about the motivation and heart that was placed into these statues by their originators.

    Reply
  • viergenoire

    Just incredible.

    Reply
  • Nelson Ferreira

    Stunning video!

    Reply
  • Timothy Lee

    Fascinating vid, very well done, this is what you tube should be all about. Thanks

    Reply
  • perditachavez

    such a complete video in only 12 min, bravo !

    Reply
  • Rich Mitch

    What an effort

    Reply
  • Tito B. Yotoko Jr.

    What part of Spain do they do this kind of work the best?

    Reply
  • Daniel McGrath

    Makes me sad to think about the amount of destruction of physical statuary that must have occurred during antiquity. And in the reformation/iconoclastic era. Good God the genius of these artists and craftsmen.

    Reply
  • Tsetsi

    Amazing sculpture

    Reply

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