Close

Christ Embracing the Cross: Step by Step

See the full process

Christ: Step 1

The pose

Christ: Step 2

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.

Christ: Step 3

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

Christ: Step 4

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

Christ: Step 5

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

Christ: Step 6

Both haves of the lower body are joined and smoothed.

Christ: Step 7

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.

Christ: Step 8

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

Christ: Step 9

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.

Christ: Step 10

A near perfect match so far!

Christ: Step 11

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

Christ: Step 12

The left arm is cast.

Christ: Step 13

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

Christ: Step 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.

Christ: Step 15

Alginate is applied to Bobby’s face, ears, and throat.  Cotton is embedded into the wet alginate.  Most of the cotton is removed after the alginate sets.  (The small fibers that remain will help attach the alginate to the plaster gauze mother mold.) Plaster gauze is applied over the alginate and cotton.

Christ: Step 16

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

Christ: Step 17

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

Christ: Step 18

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

Christ: Step 19

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.


Christ: Step 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.

Christ: Step 21

Detail 1 of the finished statue.

Christ Embracing the Cross Close up

Christ: Step 22

Detail 2 of the finished statue.

Christ Embracing the Cross Close up 2

Christ: Step 23

Detail 3 of the finished statue.

Christ: Step 24

Detail 4 of the finished statue.

Christ: Step 25

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)