The first distinctive style of sculpture that would become what we associate with classical Greece occurred in the early Bronze Age or the 3rd Century BCE. Figures were small, compact and elegant, and made of marble. A subsequent stage of bronze sculptures yields few remaining specimens, as bronze was always coveted as scrap metal. The actual “High Classical” period only lasted a few decades, from 450 – 400, but it remains hugely influential on the history of art. The renaissance, particularly in Italy, saw a return to monumental sculptures inspired by classical methods, and include the works of Michelangelo—David, Pieta, and Moses—all carved in Marble.
As with painting, modern sculpture serves as a comment and an abstraction of classical themes and ideas, and materials range from plastic, to metal, to light itself. Massive conceptual sculptures take on the title of environmental art, site-specific art or street art sculpture. Contemporary artists explore kinetic sculpture, light sculpture, sound sculpture and art toys.