The Pedestal: A Misunderstood Art Form

As Hercules says in the Disney animation version “Rule number 15: a hero is only as good as his weapon!” A hero is strong and great on his or her own but without a weapon they are weak. Weapons give a hero a potent edge over enemies. Like a hero, a piece of art is strong and beautiful on its own but with a pedestal it can be accentuated to a further degree that audiences will not be able to resist looking at.

A pedestal originates deep into the catacombs of history. Beginning as early as the Grecian time period, pedestals supported chiseled statues of gods, rulers, and other distinguished people. Pedestals continue to hold objects of great worth, value, creativity, design, and artistic prowess.

pedestal

Many artists agree that a work of art is only as good as its frame or pedestal. Paintings that lack beauty and a sense of design can be ten times better than usual if mounted to the right frame or balanced on a flattering pedestal.

Choosing the right pedestal to go with artwork is an extension of the art itself. A pedestal offers viewers the privilege of enjoying your art while, simultaneously, a pedestal functions as the final touch to your artwork; it makes your artwork complete.

For example, quality watercolor paper is frayed and uneven on the edges. Artists usually cover the edges with masking tape about a half inch to an inch to avoid painting in those areas and to remind them of where the frame will be placed. It will give an artist an idea of the best spot to put their focal point on their painting adjacent to the frame. An artist even begins planning what frame colors go best with the painting he or she is working on.

This same example can be applied to sculptures and pedestals as well. A sculpture is designed to sit on something. The bottom surface on a sculpture is flat in order to be placed on a flat surface. An artist intends for his or her work of art be placed on a pedestal and not hung from the ceiling (unless they are specifically designed to be hung from a ceiling). As an artist sculpts, a general abstract idea is shaped into a physical and magnificent piece of artwork. An artist has to decide whether a pedestal is needed or if the art will be tall or large enough to stand on its own and not need a pedestal. Before an artist begins sculpting he or she will consider the color and design of their sculpture and pedestal and decide how they would best compliment each other.

An artist relays a message through artwork and a pedestal completes that message. A pedestal flatters the theme of a sculpture. If a sculpture has smooth edges and is delicate an artist might consider placing it on a cylinder pedestal. If a sculpture is rough and has hard edges, an artist might lean toward a square pedestal. Although, this is not a strict rule every artist should follow. Deciding what pedestal goes with what sculpture is dependent on what message the artist is trying to reveal.

Neutral colored sculptures can be contrasted with a rich shade of brown or black pedestal, and in reverse a dark colored piece of art can be placed on top of a neutral colored pedestal. Again, it is dependent on what message the artist, or the buyer of the artwork, wants to relay to an audience or how they want that sculpture to fit a theme of a room.

A piece of an artist’s memory is captured in their art. An artist molds an idea into a canvas with strokes of paint or constructs a sculpture with creamy clay. It is as if an artist’s imagination and creativity will live longer than he or she will and other individuals will enjoy their artwork for generations. A pedestal puts art on display to show full appreciation of the piece’s value.

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