Contemporary sculptural busts


rene-michel-slodtz-chryses-manufacture-de-sevres Head bust

René Michel Slodtz (Michel-Ange Slodtz) – Chrysès  – Manufacture de Sèvres

Chryses praying to Apollo

Musée du Louvre


Bustie or Bust 


Greek sculpture reached its peak for quality and quantity around the mid 5th century BC. This was the era when the Athenians were completing the Parthenon, which featured a lot of elaborately carved sculptures as temple decorations and Myron was also completing his famous sculpture, ‘The Discus Thrower’. The essential characteristic of classical Greek art and its sculptures were mostly of a heroic realism. They always attempted to reveal the human body, in movement or repose, exactly as it appeared to the eye. From this time on there were many experienced sculptors available for public and private works. The use of sculpture to adorn a community’s central building went on to become a powerful European tradition – seen particularly in the church sculpture of the Middle Ages.

The classical Greek sculpture had a strong influence on the Roman empire. From the first century AD, the Romans created more stylized busts and depicted their emperors with an emphasis on certain aspects to legitimize their authority or align themselves with revered predecessors. Mythology, military prowess, youth and beauty were still common themes and public officials also began to commission portrait busts of themselves. They went on to become popular with the wealthy classes as a decorative option and for the smaller villas they were a more pragmatic choice due to their compact size.



Terracotta Head, ancient Ife, Nigeria

Photo © Herbert List – Magnum Photos


Up to around one hundred years ago, portrait busts were not at all uncommon. Although sculptors were not represented among artists by anywhere near the same ratio as today, portrait busts were, in fact, the most common stock in trade of any working sculptor. There was less demand for carved marble or cast bronze statues compared to head and shoulder busts and the style was predominantly realist.
During the first half of the twentieth century, realist portrait busts began to decline in popularity as their style was aligned with the classical busts, which had fallen out of favor during the emergence of Art Deco, Futurism and other modernist trends. Also some of the sculptors themselves chose to abandon its demanding exactitude in favour of simpler, much more expressive forms of three-dimensional work in line with what their counterparts were doing in painting and other areas of art.
The most recent developments has seen an interface connected to a 3d printer for creating 3d busts from selfies, which I think  should be called ‘Busties’. A logical development for the Age of Vanity. Most of the contemporary busts presented here are non realist, non portrait creations.


christophe-charbonnel sculptured bust in clay

Christophe Charbonnel




Christophe Betmalle from his Multiples series

Galerie accroTerre


Everything in his work revolves around the larger question: who am I? Who is the other? And it raises the question, endlessly, thus achieving a kind of diary reflecting his various emotions, questions, doubts, evoking love, abandonment, chills, memories. With maturity and experience, the faces are multiplying and widening the surface of paper, revealing the richness of his personality.


monica-van-den-berg photographer-lisa-hnatowicz --- abstract ceramic head bust

Monica van den Berg, ZA

Photographer  Lisa Hnatowicz




Medusa bust by Javier Marin, Mexico




South African Anton Smit sculpture ‘Head With Triangles’




Ceramic Rebirth Sculpture by jonislittledolls on Etsy



ceramic-rob-van-bergen female ceramic bust

Rob Van Bergen



dominique-allain-raku-sculpture male abstract

Dominique Allain Raku sculpture bust





Philippe-Faraut sculpture bust of a girl

Philippe Faraut sculpture bust




ceramic bust of a lady holding a cat by Teresa-Girones

Ceramic bust of a lady holding a cat by Teresa Girones



Gerald-Lilliard bust of a girl in contemplation

Gerald Lilliard




‘Inner Voice’ – Mary Ann prack





‘Moon Figure Door’  –  Kenneth Armitage, 1948





‘Buste de jeune fille’ – Ossip Zadkine

– 1914 –

Zadkine Research Center




Pair of American Hollywood Regency Metallic Finished Plaster Male & Female Busts





Rogier Ruys – ‘Prima Donna’





Youthful figure of Lady Precious Green, Chalchihuitlicue, who was a fertility goddess and consort to Tlaloc, the rain god.Mexico

Werner Foreman Archive



anna-plonka two ceramic female busts

Anna Plonka



amanda-shelsher-bloom-2009 Quirky bust of a female

Amanda Shelsher – ‘Bloom’




art-nouveau-mantle clock-in black and gold by-arthur-waagen

Art Nouveau mantle clock  by Arthur Waagen




art-of-irina-zaytceva face motif vase

Irina Zaytceva face motif vase





Tribal African Female Sculpture by Artist Fred Press

Kent Home Decorative Objects – Chappaqua, NY 10514 – 1stdibs




Melanie Bourget, via Flickr






Bust in brown patina bronze, représenting a queen ‘ Renaissance ‘ by Vincent Désiré Fauré de Broussé

Leda Decors




Marni Gable




charlene-doiron-reinhart ceramic bust

Charlene Doiron Reinhart





China China Bust #81 – Ah Xian





 ‘Queen Califia’ by Susan Shelton

The state of California was named after the mythical Black Queen Califia.




Chris Riccardo – ‘b & e’


JF GALLERY, West Palm Beach Fl




debra-fritts ceramic surreal bust

Debra Fritts



E.V. Female bust 1 by Mark Newman female African bust

‘E.V. Female bust 1’ by Mark Newman




Austin Productions-black-pottery-torso

Austin Productions black ceramic torso, NY




Chana-orlova art deco sculpture bust

Art Deco sculpture bust – Chana Orloff

She was born in Russia and lived in Israel




‘Mela’ by Melanie Bourget





Ife Terracotta Head, Nigeria, 12th–15th century

Minneapolis Institute of Arts




‘Mujer Feliz’, 2013 Willy Ramos

Odon Wagner Gallery



elizabeth-ostrander sculpture bust

Elizabeth Ostrander






Mami Gable





Dutch sculptor Fons Bemelman





African Woman – Franz Hagenauer, Vienna

1930s, Patinated Bronze

Fuchs Interiors Berlin





Gene Pearson. Jamaica





Gil Bruvel – ‘Flowing, Unknown’





Grey raku bust – Marika Baumler





Harris Diamant – Head 07

2014 – Slete Gallery




i-become-what-i-love Dreama Kattenbraker sculpture bust mixed media

‘I become what I love’ – Dreama Kattenbraker




igor_mitoraj_ street sculpture of a large head

Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj




igor_mitoraj_ street sculpture of a large face

Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj




igor_mitoraj_21 twin sculpture busts

Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj






Lady with an Ermine by Altaluna




King louis xiv-Bernini sculpture bust

Bust of Louis XIV is a marble portrait by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini




veronique-didier-laurenta raku bust of a woman

Veronique Didier Laurenta





Terracotta memorial head from the Akan people of Ghana

17th – 19th century



mourning-dove-by-peter-harskamp - green bird sitting on a mans head

‘Mourning Dove’ by Peter Harskamp





‘Pronte Tsarina Xaviera’, Museum Geelvinck Amsterdam (photo Roland Bacon)





Gretel Boose



mystic-sculptures-by-livio-scarpella-haunting visage

‘White Soul ‘- Livio Scarpella, Italy





‘Pronte Tsarina Anahita’  bust – Nadjezjda van Ittersum

Open Garden, Estate Castle Heemstede ceramic





‘Twin Spirits’ – Nagomi Mashaya




patti-warashina-9 ceramic bust

‘Slice of Life’ vase head – Patti Warashina

25 inches height





‘Savannah’ – Wayne Salge, Colorado

 29 inches height

Denver Galleries



sergei-isupov_influence sculptur bust

‘Influence’ -Sergei Isupov





Philippe Faraut



christy-keeney ceramic bust of a girl with golden hair

Christy Keeney, Ireland





Teotihuacan, Mexico – Mask from an Incense Burner Portraying the Old Deity of Fire




woodrow-nash-tribal African sculpture bust

Woodrow Nash





‘Yemanya, Star of the Sea’. Ceramic figure sculpture. M.A.Bach Art





‘Yrneh’ –  sculpture by Chukes



NEXT POST  —  Roger Capron – vivacious Vallauris ceramics



  1. Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Robbie,
    Thank you for using my work as part of this post. It is an stunning selection of art work and it is good to see my work among work of such good artists.
    Kind Regards

  2. Marni Gable
    Posted January 29, 2022 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for promoting my work with this post. Unfortunately my name is misspelled. It’s Marni Gable, not Mami. Thanks again.

  3. Fadhili
    Posted March 19, 2023 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see Chutes and Gene Pearson work; interested

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