Traditional Model Department
Making of a hand-made model with traditional methodology: cast, clay, plasticine, paper, wood and more. The Artist creates his piece's model by hand, in the desired dimensions and using his preferred materials; Battaglia predisposes a 60sqm work-space with 8m high ceilings for its sculptors, giving them the possibility to create large pieces of art.
Technological Model Department
Turning a two dimensional sketch into a 3D drawing, in order to print the object and to finally vacuum mold it. The Artist starts his creative process with a two dimensional sketch, more or less defined, to then subsequently perfect it with a Battaglia technician, who will have transformed the initial sketch into a three dimensional drawing, which can rotate on itself, allowing for the definition of every detail and of the right proportions. The three dimensional drawing is then transformed into a model of the artwork, printed in a special resin with a 3D printer. This model can then be fused after having applied the channels through which liquid bronze is poured. After this the plaster cast is created, the wax is removed, and the piece is completely dried.
Creating the wax positive of the sculptor's initial model and the channels through which liquid bronze will flow. Battaglia still to this day still uses methods of execution developed in the Renaissance. First, we start working on the plaster model created by the artist, covering it with a layer of about 2 cms of clay, a malleable material which has the property of not adhering permanently to the underlying plaster. A second layer of plaster (mothermould) is then laid, divided, depending on the shape and size of the model, into two or three plates to allow for opening and closing. Finally, once this outer shell has solidified, the layer of clay can be removed simply by opening the shell, thus creating a hollow between the outer plaster layer and the inner plaster model. The hollow is filled with gelatine (or fish glue). As soon as the gelatine has cooled and solidified, the outer shell is opened again and the gelatine is cut away in sections from the inner mould, so as to coincide perfectly with the shape of the plates and thus obtain a perfect gelatine negative replica of the inner mould. Each gelatine negative piece is then coated with a layer of about 5 mm of liquid wax, separated by a layer of oil, and the plates are reassembled to recreate the initial cove- ring, only this time without the inner mould. Once the wax is solidified, the interior hollow is packed with a refractory filler (ground brick and plaster) through a hole in the bottom. After removing the plaster plates and the layer of gelatine, a ‘positive’ replica is obtained, i.e. a faithful copy of the original model, in wax, about 5 mm thick and filled with refractory filler. The wax surface is then retouched and polished. Spruing of the wax mould to pour the molten bronze. A number of small plastic tubes called sprue rods are soldered onto the wax positive, which will allow the molten bronze, through a wax cup at the top of the wax mould, to flow in and reach all parts of the sculpture uniformly, avoiding partial solidifications before the end of the process.
The Battaglia artistic foundry wax department
Arnaldo Pomodoro is retouching the wax in Battaglia
Floriano Bodini is retouching the wax in Battaglia
Creation of a mould in plaster and silicon, the first negative
Application of sprue-rods, channels made of wood, wax or plastic, apllied to direct the melted bronze flux during the casting phase.
Investment of the wax mould with consecutive layers of refractory aggregate through the channels in order to obtain an outer shell.
Investment of the wax mould with consecutive layers of refractory aggregate through the channels in order to obtain an outer shell. Once the bronze pouring process is over, consecutive layers of a refractory aggregate are laid by hand onto the mould, resulting in a semi-cylindrical outer shell (investment). Firing. This investment is then put for 10 days in a gas kiln which will steadily reach the exact temperature of 750°C, and then will cool down. The firing time is considerably extended and computer-monitored so as to avoid any cracks in the shell while the wax is melting. By the end of this process, the wax residues and the plastic sprue rods have been burnt out without leaving any trace; hence the name “lost wax casting process”. Immediately after this, the semi-cylindrical investment is buried in highly-compressed earth in order to offset the impending pressure which will be applied by the molten bronze and avoid any possible cracking of the shell. Pouring of the molten bronze. The bronze, heated to a temperature of 1200°C, is poured into the cavity and, flowing from the wax cup into the pouring channels left by the burnt-out sprue rods, fills the hollow which was once filled with wax, which has now melted.
The casting of an artwork
Cleaning and chiseling the bronze sculpture.
The cleaned up sculpture is then released from its pouring channels - which have also turned into bronze – by expert chasing and accurate welding. It is then finely chiseled manually to reach perfection to the tiniest of details. Finally, it is polished and patination allows for the most varied shades of colour through the use of various acids and their chemical reaction to bronze.
The battaglia artistic foundry Chiseling Department
Chiseling of an artwork
Patinas used to colour the sculpture.
The last phase is the one of the patina application, to define the tone of bronze desired, through the use of particular chemicals, which react with the bronze surface, colouring it. Battaglia prepared over 100 different hot-processed patinas, cataloguing them with the help of expert chemists form the University of Venice. It is also possible to use acrylics and other tones and techniques, as immerging the sculpture into the chemical to reach a more uniform result.
The Patinas department in the Battaglia foundry
build together the sculpture
Large or complex sculptures have to be cast in sections and subsequently assembled by welding specific internal supports, as determined by complicated formulas and applied with experience and skill.
Arnaldo Pomodoro Sphere
Floriano Bodini scultpure