In today’s times, finding a sculptor who revives the stone architecture of ancient and medieval times is rare indeed. So, finding someone who does this is something to celebrate. Matthew Simmonds, a British sculptor, has not only carved Doric columns, arches, and vaulted ceilings from stone, but also recreated intricate real structures, such as Florence Cathedral, and others.
It’s evident from Simmonds’ work that he’s keenly passionate about stone architecture. He explains his work on dezeen.com, thus, “The world of historical architecture, particularly that of religious buildings, offers an unlimited language of expression to be inspired by. While I often make works that are historically very specific to just one time and culture, I also try to balance this with less specific and more abstract works that draw on the use of space and light.”
This Denmark-based sculptor skillfully hews intricate sculptures from a single block of marble or limestone by hand. His sculptures typically measure between 30 and 50 centimeters in height. He sources the stone from an Italian quarry. Depending upon the size and complexity of a sculpture, it typically takes about three to four weeks to complete.
Simmonds earned a degree in History of Art from the University of East Anglia, specializing in the art and architecture of the medieval period. He also studied architectural stone carving at Weymouth technical college. After graduating he embarked on a career in stonemasonry. He has to his credit restoration of several major English national monuments, such as Westminster Abbey and a couple of cathedrals. However, it was in Pietrasanta, Italy, where he got the opportunity to specialize in fine classical ornamental in marble.
Simmonds’ recognition as a sculptor came when he won the first prize at the Second International Symposium of Verona, Italy. His first sculpture was titled ‘Hidden Landscape’, which was carved from a square cut piece of stone. The most complex sculpture created by him was titled ‘Windows’ that took him eight months to complete.
Simmonds is a regular participant in sculpture symposia worldwide and has exhibited his works in countries, such as Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, UAE, UK, and the USA.