Sculpture Vertical, Horizontal, Closed, Open

Penelope Curtis

Paul Mellon Lectures
Publicaton Date
September 2017
Standard Number
Yale University Press
320 pages

Expansive and lavishly illustrated, this book examines the fundamental similarities shared by all sculptures, regardless of the culture or time period in which they were created. Focusing on a wide range of British and European examples, of many periods, Penelope Curtis explores crucial sculptural concepts such as the vertical and the horizontal, the open and the closed. In doing so, she elucidates the powerful, and often surprising, properties of objects made in vastly different sociocultural contexts. Sculpture also expands the notion of sculpture to include the objects of everyday life and investigates the ways in which we approach sculpture as an art form. Stressing the fact that sculpture has been historically linked with rites of passage and moments of change and transformation, this revelatory study argues that the experience of sculpture is a universal and primal phenomenon that cuts across particular historical styles and epochs. 

About the author

  • A woman wearing purple top with arms crossed

    Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian museum. She was Director of Tate Britain between 2010 and 2015.