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This time it was a photo of the sculpture “Sleeping Hermaphrodite” made by Barry X Ball that caught our attention.


Searching for information about this sculpture and its author, we found a photo of an almost identical sculpture, with the same title, in the Louvre.

As it turned out, the sculpture in the Louvre has a long history. It is believed that the original sculpture was made in the 2nd century BC by an unknown author. The sculpture in the Louvre is a copy of the original made by an unknown sculptor in the 2nd century BC. – It was discovered near Diocletian’s thermal baths in 1608 and restored in 1619 by David Larique. At that time, a base was added to the sculpture, which was made by Gianlorenzo Bernini. There have been many copies of the sculpture over the centuries. Some of them are still exhibited in the world’s great museums today.

But let us get back to the sculpture whose photo caught our interest. Barry X Ball was born in Pasadena (USA) in 1955. He currently lives and works in New York. He is a highly respected American sculptor, and “Sleeping Hermaphrodite” comes from a series of sculptures called “Masterpieces”.





“Masterpieces” are at once contemporary and classical. The style of working on them was very innovative – in his work Ball not only worked in a traditional way, but he also used the latest technology. He used 3D scanning – both of living objects and historical ones, computer processing and CNC carving robots. However, the final polish was always done by hand.

It took 5,000 hours of work to make the “Sleeping Hermafrodite”. Of course, it was not only the author himself who workedon it, but many young assistant sculptors. In this respect, Ball comes close to the concept of nineteenth-century sculptors’ studios, where artists employed young sculpting apprentices to assist the master while learning the ins and outs of the craft. Many of Barry X Ball’s assistants are sculptors who already work independently, but still appreciate working under the guidance of a master.

It is said these days that copying is not art. But the question remains: when making a sculpture of a person, is that not copying? According to Ball, art means striving to work at the highest level, to perfection. The author reinterprets sculptures, giving them a new expression through perfection of workmanship which the originals did not have.

An important element of the work for the author is the choice of materials. Unconventional choice of materials from quarries around the world allows, in Ball’s words, “the best connection with nature”. This is an element of innovation in his work. In the case of “Sleeping Hermaphrodite”, the author opted for black marble from Belgium, with the base made of Bianco Carrara.

In the original sculpture, the entire lower part of the face was unfinished. In his interpretation, Ball filled in this gap. It is worth noting that copies of sculptures usually tend to be less precise than their originals. In the case of Ball’s work, the opposite is true. To achieve this result, Ball relies on an extensive support system. Most of the work is carried out by trained assistants who specialise in different aspects of the process. There are scanning specialists, programmers who correct defects in the original on the digital model (cavities, scratches, etc.), and finally CNC carving machine operators. Finally, the work is carried out by specialists in manual polishing.

The artist’s works are exhibited in dozens of art galleries around the world. The “Sleeping Hermaphrodite” described here is in a private collection in New York. Works of Barry X Ball’s studio reach high prices – from 135 thousand to half a million dollars.


Barry X Ball ”Puritas” Antonio Corradini ”Puritas” (we wrote about Corradini’s work in Kurier kamieniarski no. 1/2015)




Source: Kurier kamieniarski

Author: Kurier Kamieniarski |   Published: 09.05.2016