Christ Embracing the Cross



01

The Pose

02

The model, Bill, poses for the first of several sessions. Here his lower body is covered in alginate and cotton. The crossbar replicates the size, shape, and position of the cross that will be part of the finished sculpture.

03

A two-part, plaster gauze mother mold is made to support the alginate. Wood splints add needed reinforcement.

04

The lower body mold is removed in two parts and prepped for casting.

05

The lower body is cast in two halves using Ultracal 30, fiberglass, and steel reinforcing rods.

06

Both haves of the lower body are joined and smoothed.

07

The alginate process is repeated on Bill’s upper body. The upper body mold will include the upper arms but forearms will be molded separately.

08

The upper body is cast in two halves using Ultracal 30, fiberglass, and steel reinforcing rods.

09

Both halves of the upper body are joined and the upper and lower halves are fit together. Wood splints simulate forearms and help support the sculpture.

10

A near perfect match so far!

11

The right arm is cast. Notice that the model is always placed into the full pose to preserve overall continuity.

12

The left arm is cast.

13

Seen here is a detail of the “raw pull” of both forearms.

14

Model #2, Bobby, will be the face of the statue. Here he tries out his breathing straws. His hair is prepped with cholesterol. Next, he practices the pose, which he will hold for approximately 12 minutes.

15

Alginate is applied to Bobby’s head. Cotton is embedded into the wet alginate. Most of the cotton is removed after the alginate sets. Plaster gauze is applied over the alginate and cotton.

16

More gauze is applied until the face mold is complete. Then the mold is loosened from Bobby’s face, and then, gently removed.

17

The “raw pull” of Bobby’s face will be refined and added to the sculpture.

18

The nearly completed statue with head is seen from the front and back.

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The nearly completed statue with head is seen from the right. The indent under the arm corresponds to the cross, which slides into place here.

20

A detail of the face is shown. Notice that the eyes are sculpted open. More refining of the face with take place and the hair and beard will be sculpted onto the statue.

21

Detail #1 of the finished statue.

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Detail #2 of the finished statue.

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Detail #3 of the finished statue.

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Detail #4 of the finished statue.

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Anterior and Posterior view of the completed statue, “Christ Embracing the Cross,” part of the permanent collection at Saint Louis University Museum of Art. (SLUMA)