book

Year 1 Visual Arts


Sculpture: All Around Art

king charles the first sculpture

Look at these photos. The first shows a statue of one of our kings, King Charles I, who ruled from 1624 until 1649, when he was beheaded. You can read about him in the History and Geography chapter of What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, and you can see his statue at Trafalgar Square in London. The Frenchman Hubert Le Sueur made this statue before the English Civil War almost four hundred years ago. King Charles I watches over Trafalgar Square just as the Angel, below, watches over Gateshead.

angel of the north sculpture

The second picture shows The Angel of the North, a work of art completed by Antony Gormley in 1996. The distance between the angel's outstretched wings is 54 metres! The football pitch at Wembley is 105 metres long, so that gives you an idea of what a 'monumental' sculpture this is. Can you see the tiny people in the picture standing underneath the Angel? They also help to show you how large the Angel is. The Angel's wings are not straight up and down, but they are leaning slightly forward. Gormley chose to do this to show the Angel leaning in towards the people looking at it, as if to come in for a hug.

The third image shows the main entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London with a brilliant chandelier (a decorative light fixture hanging from the ceiling) made by Dale Chihuly. This artist works with glass to blow it into fun, curly shapes made of lovely colours. Does it make you think of blue ice and green Spring plants? Chihuly was planning to name it the Ice Blue and Spring Green Chandelier. When this American artist was in England, he was in a car accident and was blinded in one eye, but that has not stopped him from making beautiful art for us all to see and enjoy.

chihuly glass sculpture

What is similar about these three artworks? They are sculptures that you can see from all sides, so we say that they have 'three dimensions'. Sculpture isn't flat like a painting; you can walk around it! An artist who creates sculpture is called a sculptor. There are lots of reasons why an artist becomes a sculptor. Some artists prefer working in three dimensions. Others prefer the textures and solid materials of sculpture such as metal, stone, wood, clay or glass. Sculptures often have interesting to stories to tell, like how the King Chales I statue was supposed to be destroyed! You can read more about these stories in What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, and you can make your own sculpture here.

This activity is adapted from pages 166 - 170 of What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

This activity has cross-curricular connections: click below to see related activities.

visual arts owl
visual arts owl
visual arts owl
history and geography owl