In plastic art, relief sculpture is any work which projects from but which belongs to the wall, or other type of background surface, on which it is carved. Reliefs are traditionally classified according to how high the figures project from the background. Also known as relievo, relief sculpture is a combination of the two-dimensional pictorial arts and the three-dimensional sculptural arts. Thus a relief, like a picture, is dependent on a background surface and its composition must be extended in a plane in order to be visible. Yet at the same time a relief also has a degree of real three-dimensionality, just like a proper sculpture.
Reliefs tend to be more common than freestanding sculpture for a number of reasons. First, a relief sculpture can portray a far wider range of subjects than a statue because of its economy of resources. For instance, a battle scene, that, if sculpted in the round, would require a huge amount of space and material, can be rendered much more easily in relief. Second, because a relief is attached to its background surface, problems of weight and physical balance do not arise – unlike in statues and other freestanding sculptures where weight and balance can be critical. Third, because reliefs are carved directly onto walls, portals, ceilings, floors and other flat surfaces, they are ideally suited to architectural projects – typically the greatest source of sculptural commissions – for which they can provide both decorative and narrative functions.
The figures and material are fluid and moving. The sculpture is to be seen as a bas-relief in which the figures are entering one side and emerging from the other.
These unique individual designs are traditionally hand crafted and beautifully made from reconstituted stone. All of the ornaments and statues are weather resistant and hard wearing.