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Amazing Metal Sculptures Made From Reclaimed Bronze Ornaments

Amazing Metal Sculptures Made From Reclaimed Bronze Ornaments


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Considering the high degree of precision and detail, most people wouldnt believe that these intricate sculptures are made from salvaged materials. French artist Alain Bellino studied the family trade of gold and silver plating throughout the 1980s before moving on to creating completely original sculptures. By 2010, he had developed a style that repurposes the bronze ornamentation from antique furniture and hardware. His work spans a variety of themes and styles, and finished with a variety of treatments to achieve specific colors or level of patina – he only sticks to one rule, and that is that each piece should be made entirely from bronze.

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  • Designer: Alain Bellino
This striking Vintage Vader is immensely intricate. The dark finish and skillfully polished eyes suit him quite well. As with most of Alain Bellino’s work, this helmet is made of finely-assembled antique bronze ornaments and finished with a patinated silver coating. This would be a gorgeous addition to any Star Wars themed home.

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Many of the photos is this series highlight the sculptures at various phases in their construction. Here’s the piece before applying the silver.

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Of course, no collection is complete without R2D2. This one would certainly stand out in any hobby room. Imagine how long it must have taken to find the perfect bronze ornaments for the shoulders and the details! The artist says that keeping a wide assortment of parts on hand at all times is crucial.

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This piece is rather large, and takes advantage of color finishes in addition to the lovely white paint.

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Forming such delicately-constructed items from such a durable material must be a difficult task – especially considering the level of realism achieved with each one. The overall construction process is likely as interesting to behold as the finished product itself.

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Here’s the ornate overlay gilded to perfection, against the backdrop of mechanical hoses and chains with a rust-like finish.

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Scrolling through the photos you will notice that the artist creates many sculptures featuring skulls. Published interviews with Alain Bellino reveal that his favorite artistic genre is “vanitas”, Latin for “emptiness”, a reflection of the transience of life and the certainty of death. The black-treated bronze seems to reflect this theme.

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This sculpture does a good job of highlighting the nature of the ornaments the artist deconstructed to create these sculptures – notice the lion pendant on the center of the forehead, and the teeth made from the handles of vintage bronze cutlery.

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Flourishes and medallions and large plates of bronze make up the sturdy frame of this proud rhinoceros. It’s hard to determine where many of these pieces came from (except the keyhole covers perhaps) but it’s neat to see the spectrum of natural patina and weathering displayed by each component.

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Here’s the completed rhino, finished with a silver coating on the front half and a silk blank finish on the rear.

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It’s amazing how smoothly the parts fit together; this jaw looks like it could open at any moment.

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Some of the sculptures follow a common material motif. This one is made entirely out of clock parts soldered together and carefully gilded. Time is a common theme in the vanitas genre, reflecting the fleeting nature of life and beauty. The shapeliness and curvature is impressive considering how clocks come with such flat and rigid pieces.

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The small amount of variation from one timepiece to another gave the artist an advantage in the search for symmetry.

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Alain Bellino expresses himself through a variety of styles. This dragon is rather playful-

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-while this bust approaches realism.

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With access to just a few different types of cutlery, the artist can weave entirely new worlds within the mind.

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Like this lamp-

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-or this spoon winged crane.

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Some of his cutlery sculptures embrace folk art aesthetic through-and-through.

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And others transform into objects of contemporary luxury.

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Although famous for his lifelike human skulls, his animal-themed sculptures are quite detailed and realistic as well. The horns are made from finely-curled strips of bronze, and the range of ornament density does a great job to enhance the range of visual depth.

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The somber eyes are especially beautiful.

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This one seems to have a basis in Greek or Roman mythology, featuring a trident-wielding figure similar to the famous Nereid sea nymphs known to wear gold-trimmed robes yet wear bare feet. Hoisted up in her hand is a wave of shells with the half-horse half-fish hippocampus carried along in the swell. The combination of gilt, dark patina, and matte white paint certainly make for a dramatic and admirable figure.

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Even the singular skulls are just as interesting as the more abstract pieces. The layering and arrangement are perfectly exquisite. No matter where the eye rests, there is something fascinating to occupy it. This one features a prominent ornament in the center of the forehead, and fleur-de-lis flourishes winding their way across the bottom and top of the teeth.

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Here, a gilded skull floats in the center of matte white egg. The frame seems to follow the basic composition of a rose vine with its swirling tendrils and pointed thorns. It’s almost reminiscent of a Fabergé egg but made of sturdy metal rather than delicate porcelain or carved material.

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Anything related to the vanitas genre makes for a powerful conversation starter around fans of art interpretation.

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A cockatrice is a mythical beast with the body of a dragon, the head of a rooster, and two legs that end in fearsome claws. This gorgeous piece is made of gilded bronze ornaments carefully chosen for a cohesive texture. The wings are cut from large pressed medallions for their smooth look, the upper body is composed of rich scrollwork to allude to feathers, and the tail uses small smooth disks to imitate scales.

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What a fabulous saxophone sculpture! Surely this would be an admirable decoration for anyone with an interest in both timeless music and classic design. This piece required a great number of small medallions, likely taken from various back plates and furniture appliques – the variation between the medallions makes it seem more vibrant and emotive, much like a good jazz number.

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This earthy sculpture is another highly tailored appeal to the themes of the vanitas genre. The tree itself displays a twisted yet beautiful frame completely devoid of leaves, finished with a deep brown patina. Ridges and knots realistically echo the contorted grain of dead wood snags.

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Zooming out reveals the gilded skull in which this dramatic tree has plunged its roots. Acanthus leaves, bold flowers, and other natural flourishes make up the structure of the skull. Even the teeth have a unique wood grain pattern.

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The contrast is striking!

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Some of Bellino’s sculptures very large while others are small enough to fit into the palm of a hand. Despite its small size, this carefully crafted skull contains almost as much detail and consideration as the life-sized figures, its extreme small scale design making it even more of a pleasure to admire.

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Here’s a shot of the completed figure, finished in silver. It’s incredible to see how the intricacy of the skull continues into the petite bones of the skeleton.

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Carefully sculpted waves give the illusion of motion as if the ship were forging full speed ahead, carried by its glowing silvered sails and strong oxidized hull and keel. Constructing miniatures of classic ships is an ancient and enjoyable pastime, but it’s unlikely that many hobbyists have built anything quite like this before.

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Despite its fanciful motif, the attention to realism is what makes this artist so rare and impressive. Check out those ropes made from bronze chain, and the perfectly-styled balustrade at the bow of the ship.

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If only we were able to see the scale of this fabulous stag beetle! It looks so delicate yet so strong, much like the real thing. The anatomy is exceptionally realistic, down to the fine teeth on the antlers.

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Did you know that the big “jaws”/antlers on these beetles are not for biting, but for jousting with one another?

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This one is just fabulous! Organic ornaments and oxidized brass tubes come together to create a brilliant likeness of the human heart. It’s a very emotional piece with many interpretations – and it’s an absolutely stellar fit for the artist’s collection of vanitas-inspired sculptures.

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The gilded pedestal is an attractive and highly functional addition, rich with potential symbolism.

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Antique bronze isn’t the easiest metal to work, but this artist knows how to bend it to his whims. Here’s a fun shot of a bronze triceratops in the making.

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The result is half gilded, half rusty patina. This piece seems to prove that anything old can seem and feel new again, whether it’s a theme or a material or an idea.

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Here’s another assemblage series. This one starts with the lips, lifted by a fluttering ribbon.

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Each antique bronze ornament is examined for fit, thematic relevance, texture, and visual density.

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Butterflies, cherubs, flowers, wings, and holly leaves are just a few of the distinctive ornaments that reveal themselves with a glance.

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Here’s the face after the silvering, with a smooth black underframe added.

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William Tell gets to breathe a sigh of relief knowing his gilded arrow has hit its mark. This matte white skull features ornaments in extremely high relief, distressed to reveal slivers of bronze at the edges. The apple is treated with a glossy crimson lacquer for a rich contrast with the gold.

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Subtle, but gorgeous – the eyes are repurposed from flower ornaments.

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A machine rises from this gilded skull like a rusted city skyline. This style could best be described as “steampunk meets sumptuous baroque”. It’s an especially interesting piece because the artist does not ordinarily emphasize mechanical layouts, but this mechanism looks like it could spring to life at the flip of a switch.

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If the intricate machine doesn’t draw your attention, these deep and powerful eyes surely will.

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A gilded crown rests on a silvered skull, with a menacing black snake trawling its way through the cranium. The somewhat dark theme doesn’t stop this sculpture from embracing its sophisticated aesthetic, capturing the imagination with elegant detail.

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Up close, the snake reveals a multilayered personality expressed through precise composition.

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Notice the lion-shaped door knocker placed in the center of the forehead – likely part of a functional drawer pull set, but now it’s a work of art.

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Recommended Reading:
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