Skulptur, Plastik, Cast? What is the difference?

Often, plastic and sculpture are considered as synonyms. But what do these terms mean?

The term plastic (French: plastique = art of designing) denotes the generic term for three-dimensional works of art, e.g.


– sculpture

and at the same time represents a branch of fine art.

The term sculpture can be derived from the Latin „sculpere“ (cut, carve, chisel). As you can guess, the material is successively removed. Most of this happens according to the block principle. Suitable materials such as wood and stone are processed with taking away material so that a finished sculpture is created.



Did you knew?

„MICHELANGELO’s“ David „z. B. was carved out of a column-like marble block. The marble block dictated the pose of the figure. Within the blockiness MICHELANGELO could only create a David in a relaxed posture, with a slightly crooked foot. Also the direction, the vertical, as well as the physical structure were directed by a marble block. MICHELANGELO could not make David any more physical, e.g. create with wider shoulders, because the material did not give this. Likewise, he was unable to portray David with outstretched or skyward arms. In spite of all the limitations to which MICHELANGELO was exposed through the marble block, he succeeded in giving his David the expression of a movement by using the antagonist’s ancient axis system of interplay of stance and playing leg.
At the same time, MICHELANGELO created a space-open, multi-faceted sculpture with a frontal main view, balanced profile views and a detailed rear view. „


The term plastic can be derived from the Greek „plassein“ (form). In contrast to the sculpture, the material is added to a plastic complementary, constructive and modeling.

As you can see, there are a variety of terms that ultimately suggest a similar end result. For the sake of completeness we would like to explain the term Cast. Which is a white sculpture art of plaster e.g. a stone or marble sculpture. In our Academy we use mainly the term Cast.



„Arbeitsvorgang Abtragen“. [Internet]. Berlin: Bibliographisches Institut GmbH. Stand 2010. [zitiert am 15.06.2018]. In: Online Publikation: am 15.06.2018

„Begriff Plastik“. [Internet]. Berlin: Bibliographisches Institut GmbH. Stand 2010. [zitiert am 15.06.2018]. In: Online Publikation: Aufgerufen am 15.06.2018

Bildquelle: Von National Gallery of Art., Gemeinfrei, Aufgerufen am 15.06.2018

Bildquelle: Von Jörg Bittner Unna – Eigenes Werk, CC BY 3.0, Aufgerufen am 15.06.18

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