One of the most pleasurable aspects of acquiring art is deciding where to display it in your home or office. With two-dimensional pieces such as paintings or lithographs, this essentially requires finding wall space in an area where the piece can be properly emphasized yet still complement the rest of the décor. With the three-dimensional nature of sculpture, finding a display space can be more difficult, particularly for larger and/or bulkier pieces. No matter where you place your sculpture, you’re going to need to take into account other details, such as the pedestal or base you use and the light that surrounds it. Here are some guidelines for the best approaches to displaying sculpture in your home.
Placing it in the Room
Since sculpture is a three-dimensional art form, it really needs to be in an area where it can be viewed from multiple sides. This is an important consideration when determining where to place a piece in a room, as you want to choose a space with the most unrestricted view possible. At the same time, you also need to consider the functionality of the room itself, as a sculpture may look great in the center of a room but end up blocking the flow of traffic and making the space less comfortable to be in overall. Try different arrangements of furniture to find the best configuration for a large sculpture. With smaller sculptures, for the best viewing situation, you want to be sure they’re placed at eye level. In this case, the base or pedestal you choose will play a big part in where in the room’s design the piece will best fit.
Finding a Base
Of course, size is going to play a significant role here, as smaller objects can be simply placed on a shelf or table, whereas larger pieces will probably need their own pedestal. The trickiest part of selecting a pedestal is determining what material will best complement the sculpture. In other words, you want the pedestal to be pleasing to the eye yet remain visually in the background, rather than drawing attention away from the sculpture itself. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to find a pedestal that replicates the sculpture in terms of color or form. Sometimes, juxtaposing a different material or shape can create an interesting look that really makes the sculpture stand out. Don’t forget to make sure that the pedestal is strong enough to hold the artwork and that the sculpture is firmly secured to its base.
Directing the Lighting
One of the keys to displaying sculpture is good lighting. This can demand a bit of a balancing act, as you want to place the piece in a well-lit area of the room, preferably near a light source, but at the same time you want to avoid situations where the light is shining primarily from behind or from beneath the piece. For instance, too much direct light from behind, such as from a south-facing window, will often cast such bright illumination that the details of the sculpture itself are difficult to see. Another common mistake is to shine a single dramatic spotlight, leaving the rest mostly in shadow. This may look good at first glance, but it will effectively obscure most of the piece. Go for diffuse but steady light and gentle, gradual shadows, which will help illuminate the sculpture’s strong lines and subtle forms.
By displaying sculpture, you can add a sophisticated touch to any home or office interior. And with the wide variety of mediums available, you’re sure to find a piece that resonates with the rest of the décor. Be sure to explore our collection of fine art sculptures for sale to find the perfect work to accentuate your particular space.
This article was written for ARTmine by Laura Monroe.