Making a Spanish Polychrome Sculpture

Seventeenth-century Spanish polychrome sculpture was intended to appear as lifelike as possible. Compared to bronze or marble statues, sculpted and painted wooden figures--often with glass eyes and wigs--achieve a remarkable realistic effect. Artists specialized in particular Spanish polychromy techniques, such as estofado : painting and incising to create rich silk fabrics with raised patterns in gold and silver used for the garments, and encarnaciones : blending and applying of oil paint for lips, hair, and modulations of the skin.

Narration provided by Zahira Véliz Featuring sculptor Marcelo Moreira Santos and historic-technique painter Sylvana Barrett Animation produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum with Dynamic Diagrams, Inc. © 2009 J. Paul Getty Trust