In the visual arts, reliefs are sculptural representations that protrude from solid backgrounds. Art history dates back more than 30,000 years. Mural reliefs are known above all from Roman and Greek antiquity as well as from Renaissance and Gothic European architecture.

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Mural Reliefs – Art Objects Between Painting and Sculpture

The term relief refers in the art to a sculptural representation which, unlike a sculpture, does not stand freely but is firmly attached to a background. Thus, mural reliefs form the connection between two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional sculpture. The oldest known reliefs in human history are over 30,000 years old. In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans decorated their temples, columns, tombs, and sarcophagi with those three-dimensional pictures. In the Gothic and Renaissance epochs, reliefs developed into important design elements of larger structures such as churches or other representative buildings. The pictorial themes varied from religious to secular, depending on the function of the building. After their dissemination in sacred art and art on buildings, mural reliefs have developed into an independent genre in the visual arts to this day.

The Relief in Art: Variants and Materials

Depending on the degree of the sublimity of the motif, a distinction is usually made between bas relief, half relief, high relief, and sunk relief. In the case of bas relief, the motifs stand out only slightly from the background. The shapes are somewhat more pronounced in half relief. But those do not come close to the proportional sizes. Because only a high relief, which depicts the real object true-to-scale is able to achieve this. Another variant besides bas relief, half relief, and high relief is the sunk relief. With this technique, the motif appears through working depressions into the background material. Another special design technique for mural reliefs is the so-called undercut. While using this technique a small hollow space between the object and the back wall of the artwork is created. As a result, the picture object appears detached from the wall.

Reliefs can be made from a wide variety of materials. Often, mural reliefs are made of stone, especially when attached to buildings. The figures are carved out of the material as in a sculpture. A similar procedure is used for mural reliefs made of wood, where the motif is carved out. Metal reliefs can be embossed, forged, or cast. A wide variety of metals are used, such as bronze, copper, silver, gold, cast iron or steel.

Buy Mural Reliefs at ars mundi

Due to their special shape, reliefs are extraordinary wall objects. You can buy a large selection of relief art here at ars mundi. Among the particularly interesting and popular mural reliefs are reproductions of artefacts from Greek and Roman antiquity, for example, the "Horus Falcon", "Orpheus - Eurydice - Hermes", or the "Phaistos Disc". Many of these millennia-old works of art can be found in renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Musée du Louvre, Paris, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz or the British Museum, London. In addition to the reproductions of museum art pieces, here at ars mundi, you can buy numerous other mural reliefs, for example, the famous "Schema delle Proporzioni" by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as true to the original reproductions of fossils or contemporary wall objects.