50 MASS

SOLIDITY, WEIGHT, AND VOLUME

In art, the term “mass” is used to describe a perceived quality of solidity and weight combined with a sense of volume. One of the enormous sculpted stone heads of Easter Island would certainly be said to have mass. In sculpture, mass is quite physical and is usually more spectacular with an increase in scale. This quality can be an important feature of the expressive power of an artwork. Auguste Rodin’s (1840–1917) sculpture of Balzac for example, depends on the concentrated mass in the upper half of the body combined with the upwards lift of the overlarge head. We get an impression of weightiness increasing as we move up the body, so that at last the great forehead and its piercing intelligence take center ...

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