Sculpture is a three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard or plastic material, sound, or text and or light, commonly stone (either rock or marble), clay, metal, glass, or wood. Some sculptures are created directly by finding or carving; others are assembled, built together and fired, welded, moulded, or cast. Sculptures are often painted. A person who creates sculptures is called a sculptor.
Because sculpture involves the use of materials that can be moulded or modulated, it is considered one of the plastic arts. The majority of public art is sculpture. Many sculptures together in a garden setting may be referred to as a sculpture garden. Sculptors do not always make sculptures by hand. With increasing technology in the 20th century and the popularity of conceptual art over technical mastery, more sculptors turned to art fabricators to produce their artworks. With fabrication, the artist creates a design and pays a fabricator to produce it. This allows sculptors to create larger and more complex sculptures out of material like cement, metal and plastic, that they would not be able to create by hand. Sculptures can also be made with 3-d printing technology.
In the ancient world and during the Middle Ages almost all sculpture was artificially coloured, usually in a bold and decorative rather than a naturalistic manner. The sculptured portal of a cathedral, for example, would be coloured and gilded with all the brilliance of a contemporary illuminated manuscript. Combinations of differently coloured materials, such as the ivory and gold of some Greek sculpture, were not unknown before the 17th century; but the early Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini greatly extended the practice by combining variously coloured marbles with white marble and gilt bronze.