Grotesque Corbel – clay sculpture

My latest garden sculpture project is inspired by Romanesque architectural ornament, a Grotesque Corbel.

Corbels are, basically, fancy brackets that extend out from a wall and may support weight. The function of a corbel may also be purely decorative. I am creating this as a decorative piece for a garden setting, but it could be used as a small shelf or shelf bracket as well.

Grotesque Corbel - clay sculptureThe scale of this corbel is on the small side; 7″ tall, 4″ wide, 4″ deep. The final material will be cast concrete, perfect for any outdoor environment. The image shown here is the clay model in progress. When I’m finished with the sculpting, I will make a rubber mold for casting. I plan to post images and details of the molding process for folks that may be interested in how molds are made.

Below is a front view of the corbel.

Grotesque Corbel, clay sculpture - front viewI haven’t talked about the word, grotesque here yet. In the simplest terms, a grotesque is similar to a gargoyle, but without a water spout. They are meant to be somewhat ugly caricatures, silly or comic renditions of humans, animals or other mythological beasties. In addition, a grotesque (or a gargoyle) sculpture may include some decorative accents such as flowers, fruit, curly cue designs, etc. Living in San Francisco for many years contributed to my interest, and appreciation for this type of ornate design. (or maybe I’m just a bit off kilter…