Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

fnar 124 sculpture I

Spring 2012

Course Description

This is an introductory studio that will introduce basic techniques, materials, and theoretic principles specific to Sculpture so that students can learn to express ideas and feelings in a 3D format.

Students will have to demonstrate competency working with a variety of materials such as clay, plaster, armatures and found objects, producing an ongoing body of work throughout the Semester. The course will cover various approaches to the subject, from direct modeling and casting to fabrication and assemblage. Technical demonstrations on media specific will alternate with theoretical discussion and visits to Art Museums.

The focus of the seven projects described in the schedule is to explore the various media available, the specific techniques, which accompany that media choice, and the principles, which guide creativity when utilizing such media. It will be important to gain confidence with direct, hands-on interaction with the various tools and material procedures, to explore the third dimension with a personal approach and to organize a good work-in-progress studio practice.

An introduction of the basic elements of line, shape, value, texture and space will allow for students to actively engage the artistic principles, which guide those elements. Through critical observation of Classical and Modern Sculpture students will study the rules that govern the design principles of composition, balance, contrast, repetition and scale.


Learning Objectives

  • Understand the creative process.
  • Assess formal qualities of artistic production.
  • Demonstrate visual literacy.
  • Acquire critical and technical vocabulary to describe and analyze artistic production.
  • Evaluate works of art in light of aesthetic and historical precedent.


Required Readings:

Most texts and Art catalogues on Artists and specific topics related to the projects will be at disposal in the Art studio. Further source material will be in the Library.         


Studio Policy:

The Art Studio will be locked after class; you will be able to get keys from the entrance desk and sign up your entry time; you must return keys at desk and lock the studio after you leave.

Please keep the studio areas neat after work, clean your working station, brushes and containers.

You will be assigned a shelf to store most of your work in progress.

You will be individually given a standard set of drawing tools and sketchbooks.

A number of monographic and reference books will be at disposal in the Art Studio; you are invited to develop more extensive study on specific artists or artwork in the Library.

Work in progress will be subject of review during class hours.

Each mandatory drawing assignment will be illustrated in class.

Extra hours (2 to 3) to complete drawing assignments are requested

Travel plans or other personal commitments may not interfere with attendance and examinations.

There is a 40.00 € supply cost associated to this class. Please make the payment at the student office.


Evaluation methods:

70%     Evaluation on the seven projects (30% at Midterm + 40% Final Critique)

30%     Class attendance, work in progress.

Grading will be incrementally lowered for lateness and lack of attendance.

Grading Scale:  Please note that Loyola awards neither an A+ nor a D-.  The following sample grading scale, which assigns slightly more points to the solid letter grade, with pluses and minuses spanning fewer points on either side, is one commonly used at American universities:  (A) 100-93,  (A-) 92-90,  (B+) 89-87,  (B)  86-83,  (B-) 82-80, (C+) 79-77,  (C) 76-73,  (C-) 72-70, (D+) 69-67, (D) 65-60,  (F) below 60.

Academic Integrity:

a)    The basic commitment of a university is to search for and to communicate the truth as it is honestly perceived.  The university could not accomplish its purpose in the absence of this demanding standard.  Students of this university are called upon to know, to respect, and to practice this standard of personal honesty. Plagiarism or examination behavior will result minimally in the instructor assigning the grade of "F" for the assignment.  In addition, all instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Rome Center's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who may constitute a hearing board to consider the imposition of additional sanctions, including a recommendation of expulsion, depending on the seriousness of the misconduct.


Sequence of seven working projects:


From the drawing to the plane: clay modeling and pattern making in low relief.

a)    Engrave on a clay slab developing it as an archeological fragment.

b)    Compose and model in low relief a Renaissance Master painting.


Plaster casting in low relief from a clay negative.

a)    Model a naturalistic low relief in clay; take a negative cast of it in plaster.

b)    Impress and emboss textures and parts of objects on clay slab; cast it in plaster.


The additive process: 3D sequence in clay.

a)    Model a sequence of separate elements (minimum 3) that conjugate concave and convex planes.

b)    Model a sequence of separate elements that emphasize voids and cavities.

c)    Model a sequence that express/illustrate contrasting forces


From wire drawing in space to volumes.

a)    Draw profiles and line contours by bending wires emulating spatial drawings; cut out planes off screens and meshes and connect them; create 3D open structures.

b)    Build up volumes by wrapping cheesecloth or burlap embedded in plaster around armatures

c)    Build up volumes by directly dip multiple times compressed chicken mesh structures in plaster baths.


The Artist book

a)    Investigate on a personal interpretation of the spirit and the mood of a specific novel or essay by means of constructing your own visual, physical, wordless book.

b)    Break down the visual and structural elements of the book (cover, spine, text, folios, binding) and develop it as a sculptural object.

c)    Deconstruct, insert and reconstitute an existing book by re-formatting it combining various printed matter.


Portraiture in clay

a)    Model a self-portrait in clay.

b)    Reproduce a full size head from an existing sculpture.

c)    Model a portrait from life.


Three-dimensional assemblage 

a)    Combine and recycle found objects or invent ready-made with a specific title, theme and meaning; refer to the Dada, Surrealism and Futurism Art Movements

b)    Construct a realistic composition by re-assemble parts of found objects and materials.


Finishing techniques; sanding and polishing. Use of colors. Use of waxes. Textures rendering.


SCHEDULE of meetings:


  • Jan 18             Intro to the Art Studio; space, tools and procedures
  • Jan 25                 Visit to Museum.
  • Feb. 1              Art Studio;.
  • Feb. 8              Visit to the Modern Art Museum (GNAM) at Valle Giulia.
  • Feb. 15            Art Studio
  • Feb. 22               Art Studio
  • Feb. 29            Midterm Critique on first three projects.
  • March 7          Midterm Break
  • March 14           Art Studio
  • March 21           Art Studio
  • March 28           Art Studio
  • April 4             Life modeling in clay with the model.
  • April 11           Visit to Museum.           
  • April 18           Work in progress.
  • April 25           Final critique on last four projects.
  • April 27           FRIDAY 6:00 PM  -Final Exhibition