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A Briton carves tiny stone sculptures that resemble medieval masterpieces
A Briton carves tiny stone sculptures that resemble medieval masterpieces

Carved Doric columns, decorative arches, vaulted ceilings, staircases and tiny statues inside. All this fits into miniature architectural spaces, reminiscent of the ruins of ancient and medieval sacred buildings. Simple stone and marble come to life in the hands of the famous British sculptor Matthew Simmonds, transforming into tiny pieces of architectural art. Intricate three-dimensional interiors look too realistic up close, it is hard to believe that they are actually very small. The best works of the master, further in the review.

Who is Matthew Simmonds and where does he get his inspiration

Matthew Simmonds is from the UK and currently lives and works in Denmark. He developed an interest in the topic of medieval architecture while studying at the Department of Art History at the University of East Anglia. Matthew graduated from this educational institution with honors.

Art objects represent the complex “inner worlds” of architectural structures

Simmonds mastered stone carving at Weymouth Technical College. In 1997, he studied Classical Sculpture and Marble Ornament in Pietrasanta, Italy. The sculptor used the acquired skills in the restoration work of monuments of national importance - Westminster Abbey, Salisbury and Ely Cathedrals.

Matthew Simmonds started as a restorer

The acquired knowledge of various materials, handicraft skills of manual stone processing and personal cultural interests were later embodied in unique miniature works of art. For his work, Simmonds often draws inspiration from real-life historic buildings. Most of his sculptures are not reproductions, but offer his own perspective on classical architecture.

Knowledge and skills are embodied in genuine miniature works of art Some of the sculptures are reproductions There are also works that represent the artist's own views

The amazing world of architecture in miniature

The sculptor received his first recognition in 1999. The play with small-scale architectural spaces carved out of stone aroused the admiration of the audience. Miniature creations revealed intricate inner worlds in which viewing angle and lighting play an important role. They amaze the imagination with their smallest details. It seems that this is simply impossible.

Small details boggle the imagination with their precision

These impressively detailed works showcase positive and negative forms, the play of light and darkness in all their glory. They contrast sharply between the treated and untreated material surface, demonstrating the depth of the interaction between man and mother nature.

A unique play of light and darkness The contrast between the treated and untreated part of the stone is striking

What the artist himself says

“I have always had a certain passion and insane interest in historic stone buildings. This prompted me at one time to start studying medieval art and architecture at the university. Then I didn't even think about working with a stone. It happened many years later. During my visit to Chichester Cathedral in the south of England in 1990, I saw an exhibition of the work of masons restoring the cathedral. It was then that it dawned on me that this is it! What I would like to do in life. At first I worked as a craftsman, not as an artist. Then I moved to Pietrasanta. Many talented sculptors live and work in this Italian city. It was then that I began to seriously think about what I would like to express in stone from my point of view of art."

The artist has always been interested in historic buildings Most of all, the sculptor was interested in temples

Matthew considers historical architecture and sculpture to be his main source of inspiration, especially from ancient and medieval times.

Ancient and medieval architecture inspires the most

“What impresses me most is the architecture of the religious buildings and the sense of sacred space they invariably evoke. I have always been more inspired by a common heritage than by the work of individual artists. I am also interested in the qualities of the material itself, and its potential. What was once alive and now is dead. The creative process is able to breathe life into a soulless stone,”says the sculptor.

The soulless stone comes to life

Simmonds has always been fascinated by the interiors of buildings. Matthew recounted how, as a child, he was struck by the dioramas of the children's gallery at the Science Museum in London. Now this museum no longer exists. Only those stunning little worlds frozen in the frame still pop up in memory. The sculptor is now trying to create his own worlds. These spaces, so separated from everyday life, that looking at them, the viewer can feel a direct connection with their inner world. Imagine that you enter them, you are inside.

The shape of the building also depends on the shape of the stone The interiors of buildings have always attracted the artist more than their exterior

“I want to express that close relationship between things made of stone and the material itself. I try to contrast natural and finished surfaces, thereby drawing attention to the idea that there are already worlds of its own inside the stone.

Each work is a whole unique world

How it goes

The artist painstakingly brings his ideas to life. They are not always clear until the artwork is finished.

First, the sculptor needs to select the desired stone

“The first step is usually choosing the right piece of natural stone. Sometimes I have to cut a stone, bringing it to a size that matches my idea. Usually I don't have a very clear idea of ​​what I will sculpt when I start working,”says Simmonds.

The creative process must be flexible

For example, in one of his works, the sculptor decided to create a kind of centralized domed space. In the final form, Matthew was not at all sure. He began his work by carving out a dome with a cylindrical space underneath. Then the created surface served him as a canvas for the step-by-step study of space. It is very difficult to imagine in advance exactly what any stage of work will look like. This is especially true in the early stages of work. The look and shape of the line created where natural stone meets a finished surface helps to provide a degree of flexibility in the creative process.

The contrast between the precise carvings of architectural forms and the rough shell produces a powerful visual impact on the viewer

In the early stages, Matthew Simmonds used many hand-held pneumatic and power tools. These are grinders and disc cutters, as well as a pneumatic hammer and chisels. These tools are very effective when roughing the space. As the work progresses, the craftsman is already trying to use more traditional hand tools. They are better suited for most of the finer, finer parts.

In his sculptures, Simmonds tries to reflect the general achievements of human culture, the influence of various cultural traditions on each other

What is the hardest part of a sculptor's job

The sculptor says: “The most difficult thing is probably the technical aspect of removing the stone from the interior spaces. In order to be inspired for this work, you need to see firsthand a work of art embodied in a real physical form. Feel it fully, immerse yourself in its living world. A lot of creative energy is invested in absolutely any artistic endeavor. But then it is returned to the artist many times as a finished piece."

Stone is a material that has qualities such as strength and constancy, which have determined its central role in the history of architecture

“I have always been attracted to medieval architecture, where interior space and light are often used to express the Divine presence,” the artist said of his favorite subject of sculpture.

“This is the period of historical architecture that I am most aware of and to which I feel the closest. In many ways, medieval ecclesiastical architecture can be identified by its characteristic of combining many complex spaces into a coherent whole. This is what I like to explore.Especially the general connections between the styles of different places and times. Recently I have found myself drawn to study the more centralized Eastern church architecture of Armenia and the Byzantine Empire."

By its nature, the stone has a close connection with the past of the Earth

The artist is incredibly happy that his works have such a resounding success. At the same time, he says that he is the strictest critic for himself.

The choice of style is influenced by a particular type of stone

“I am always very happy when my work is recognized. Like many artists, I am often my own critic. So when I get rave reviews from people, when they say that my work means so much to them, it's a very valuable form of support. I remember winning my first prize at the Cavaillon Veronese Sculpture Symposium in 1999. I was not at all sure what was worth participating there. But in the end, it was this event that turned out to be the starting point of my career. The fact that my work was so warmly received by the judges and many ordinary people played a role. It gave me confidence that I was on the right track."

Art in miniature is always amazing. Read our article tiny houses on bonsai trees, each of which exists in a single copy.

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