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For bronzes - statues and reliefs, see: Bronze Sculpture. The Venus of Berekhat Ram (dating from c.230,000 BCE or earlier) is a basaltic figurine made during the Acheulian Period, which was discovered on the Golan Heights.

For Pentelic, Parian, Carrara stone, see: Marble Sculpture. The Venus of Tan-Tan (c.200,000 BCE or earlier) is a quartzite figurine from the same period.

Neolithic art is noted above all for its pottery, but it also featured free standing sculpture and bronze statuettes - in particular from the Indus Valley Civilization, the North Caucasus and pre-Columbian art in the Americas.

The most spectacular form of Neolithic art was Egyptian pyramid architecture whose burial chambers led to an increased demand for various types of reliefs as well as portable statues and statuettes.

Of course nothing compares to the inspirational message of America's Statue of Liberty, probably the No 1 propagandist work of sculpture.

As well as having huge narrative content capable of promoting a specific message, sculpture is also an arduous craft whose creators are highly dependent on both tools, technology.

In any event, for all these reasons, the history of sculpture is closely linked with the politics, technology and financial prosperity of society.

In the plastic arts, famous sculptors like Polykleitos (5th century BCE), Myron (Active 480-444 BCE), and Phidias (c.488-431 BCE) (see his work at the Parthenon) achieved a level of realism - further developed by later artists such as Callimachus (Active 432-408 BCE), Skopas (Active 395-350 BCE), Lysippos (c.395-305 BCE), Praxiteles (Active 375-335 BCE), and Leochares (Active 340-320 BCE) - which would remain unsurpassed until the Italian Renaissance.

• Introduction • Prehistoric Sculpture • Sculpture of Classical Antiquity (c.1100-100 BCE) • Celtic Metal Sculpture (400-100 BCE) • Roman Sculpture (c.200 BCE - c.200 CE) • Byzantine Sculpture (330-1450 CE) • Sculpture During The Dark Ages (c.500-800) • Romanesque Sculpture (c.800-1200) • Gothic Sculpture (c.1150-1300) • Italian Renaissance Sculpture (c.1400-1600) • Baroque Sculpture (c.1600-1700) • Rococo Sculpture (c.1700-1789) • Neoclassical Sculpture (Flourished c.1790-1830) • 19th Century Sculpture • 20th Century Sculpture: The Advent of Modernism • Post-War Sculpture (1945-70) • Postmodernist Contemporary Sculpture Any chronological account of the origins and evolution of three-dimensional art should properly occupy several volumes, if not a whole library of books.

Compressing it into a single page means that most of the story is unavoidably omitted. From Prehistory, through Classical Antiquity, the Gothic era, the Renaissance to the 21st century, the history of sculpture is filled with extraordinary artists - most sadly anonymous - whose visual expressiveness remains with us in the form of wonderful marble statues, stone reliefs, and immortal bronzes. The earliest known examples are the two primitive stone effigies known as The Venus of Berekhat Ram and The Venus of Tan-Tan.

Hellenistic Greek Sculpture (c.323-27 BCE) During this period (characterized by the spread of Greek culture throughout the civilized world), classical realism was replaced by greater heroicism and expressionism.

See: Pergamene School of Hellenistic Sculpture (241-133 BCE).

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