Marble as a Medium in Art and Architecture

Here at Granite and Marble Specialties, we have had a lifetime of experience getting to know stone, and we appreciate and understand all the advantages in look, texture, and practicality marble offers as a contemporary material for your home’s fixtures. We also know what a legacy a stone like marble carries with it.

When you install a marble feature in your home, we hope that you’re reminded every day of the long and noble history of the material, and feel like you’re part of marble’s heritage. Masters like Michelangelo, Bernini, or Donatello dedicated their lives to working with the material that brings so much beauty and elegance to your family and home.

Most people are familiar with marble’s most famous use: sculpture. Carving shapes from stone predates even cave painting, and the first Greek sculptures carved of marble began to emerge about three thousand years ago. Marble has been a popular choice for statuary because it is soft enough to carve yet resilient to cracking or shattering. It is at its softest when it is first quarried, and becomes only more durable as time wears on. It was also the only stone available that has “subsurface scattering,” which is a slight translucency comparable to human skin. This quality is what made marble statues so lively, human, and emotional, and some of the most breathtaking pieces of art ever created by human hands are figures done in marble.


Other famous uses of marble as a material of art include reliefs, which were a type of sculpture perfected by the Romans. Reliefs were carved pictures using three-dimensional figures in two-dimensional panels, usually to decorate churches, such as the Siena Cathedral Pulpita, which was carved of white Carrara marble and features eight different intricate panels. Marble was—and still is—the most popular choice for busts, and are still our best way of knowing what many historical figures, like Cesar, looked like. Marble was also used for creating sarcophagi, headstones, or mausoleums.


Marble was also famed for its use in architecture. Marble columns have decorated important buildings throughout time, including the Parthenon and the Pantheon. The greatest feats of marble construction have usually been commissioned by the Church, and the statuary and design you’ll find in Rome, and especially in the Vatican, is the best in the world. The floors, walls, railings, pillars, and icons are made from marbles of all colors and origins. Today, you can find a similar use of marble in our own capitol, Washington, D.C., where it decorates the facades and interiors of most state buildings. Many of our monuments also harken to those of the Romans—the Lincoln monument is a colossal statue made completely of marble, mined mostly from Georgia, and the Washington Monument is a marble blend, and resembles the obelisks of antiquity.


When you look at a luminescent marble sink or countertop, we hope you’ll remember how long and incredible the history of that stone is, and how it’s brought joy and splendor to human lives in different forms for millennia. If you’re interested in installing marble in your own home, please come talk to us today, and we’ll help you choose and install a marble that will make you feel like a king.