01 February 2010

Buying Bronze Sculpture 101: Patina or paint?

When you read some of our descriptions you'll often notice that we mention that a piece is colored with an all natural "patina" finish. You may ask yourself, "What the heck is a patina?" Bronze is made up of a few metals, mainly copper, and some other alloys. These metals, when heated, react in a certain way to different chemicals and acids which produce a certain color. The real look of a bronze sculpture that has no patina is that of a new penny. The "traditional" look of bronze statues, that dark brown coloring like our wild horse, is actually a patina that was applied to the heated metal to create the color. Bronze can be colored in several shades using this chemical reaction process. Most often they are greens and browns. If you want your bronze statue or fountain to have a more realistic look,like our Mermaid with 8 dolphins, traditional paint must be used. An oil based paint, like automotive grade, gives a shinier, almost porcelain appearance, whereas acryllics will be more of a matte finish. In both cases a protective coating is applied to maintain the look for a long time.

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