This Hercules statue, actually two statues oriented upside down to each other, was made using a technique similar to the terra cotta warrior sculptures of China. The reason for this is simple: Both our sculpted clay Hercules statue and the terra cotta warriors were built to be fired in a kiln. This makes for a very challenging task because the legs, torso, arms, and head of each individual male figure of the Hercules and Diomedes statue must be built from the bottom up, as a continuous and interconnected hollow structure. The knee and shoulder of the clay Hercules sculpture are left open, as seen in the progress photos, so that the moist air inside the statue can escape allowing it to quickly harden.
Once the general shape of the statue of Hercules and Diomedes was formed in clay, then the artist could sculpt the musculature and bring out the individual muscle definition within his arms and back. All sides of the combined sculpture of Hercules and Diomedes, in an inverted wrestling position, had to be built in a careful and balanced manner because if too much clay was added to one side, and not the other, it could tip over. So both the front and back sides (and the left and right sides) had to be constructed rather symmetrically from the bottom up. If a clay sculpture tips over it can set a sculptor back days, if not weeks, worth of sculpting. Sometimes this is for the better, since the second time a sculptor recreates an artwork it many times will turn out better than if the artwork had never been destroyed in the first place. "Misfortune and good luck are often two sides of the same coin." - credited to an unknown author.
If this statue wasn\'t sculpted hollow on the inside it may have added up to over half a ton of clay. When completed the actual hollow clay Hercules sculpture weighed between 400-500 lbs. That\'s why before a sculpture like this is ever begun it must have a base, or platform, for it to be sculpted on that ideally should be made mobile, preferably with wheels. Also, the final casting work should be done near to where the artwork was made so that no transportation is required. Otherwise you risk damaging a clay sculpture [with no armature] just from the road vibration encountered during driving.
At the base of the statue, between the feet of Hercules is a finely detailed lion face [fitted with a water fountain spout in the final casting] with a flowing mane placed over a tree stump on which Hercules sits on in the final artwork. Part of the technique of making a successful sculpture is to incorporate scenic elements, in this case a tree stump, below your statue so that it has something to support the awkwardly positioned wrestling figures and provide counter balance to the weight of any sculpted details. Our art department is skilled at making almost any sculpture imaginable!