Classical Arts in Contemporary Sculpture


The Kiss 2001 Bronze



Sculptor Robin Buick feels passionately about keeping the Classical Tradition alive. Classical technique is in real danger of being completely lost in our contemporary world. He is one of a tiny number of sculptors who are still proficient in it. He wants to teach young sculptors those techniques and favours the Atelier system where three or four apprentices work alongside a master.

Classical art and classical ideas came under attack from Modernism at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. As a result the academic teaching method was gradually removed from the art college curriculum until by the seventies it ceased to be taught at all.

There is probably general agreement that our Classical Visual heritage should be preserved, but Robin Buick wants to draw our attention to how this is going to be done. Today Classical Art is no longer even defined as Art by the Art Critics. This cannot be preserved just through study of the History of Art, it must be done practically as well. It will need an interactive group of artists who will carry on the tradition by actually making this art. This is a fairly daunting task considering the level of training and study necessary to create even the 'critical mass' that could reach the professional standards of the past. It would require a sizeable investment in cultural preservation. Most people would assume that is the responsibility of the art establishment and the arts councils, but the ideology of Modernism prevents this from happening. It is certain that Classical Art is going to need help from outside the Modernist art establishment if it has any hope of surviving.


Born Ballymena Co. Antrim, N. Ireland, l940, Hons BA ( Econ.) degree at Trinity College Dublin (1967). He developed a serious interest in sculpture in the early 70s, but had no formal art college education, instead he got instruction from sculptors who were doing figurative work such as David Wynne in London and Milton Hebal in Rome. He took up sculpture as a full time vocation in 1984, and on Milton Hebal's advice undertook a copy from the antique,The Wrestlers, which the National Gallery of Ireland kindly gave him facilities to study; it took him nine months. He undertook other modelling from life projects and in 1988 got a tuition scholarship at The New York Academy, where he studied for a year.

Over twenty five years his interest has shifted from the impressionistic figure to the classical one. He could be characterised as belonging to the Classical Realist movement which is mostly located in the USA. Classical sculpture requires a virtuoso technique which he is still working towards and which it is his personal ambition to master. In 1994 he started the Bacchanal fountain which took four years. In 1999 The Kiss, which he worked at for two years and is just finsihed.


Public and Corporate Sculpture Commissions

2000 Bacchanal Fountain, Belfied Office Park, Clonskeagh, Dublin
1996 Portrait bust of Monsegnior James Horan for Knock International Airport
1994 Electricity Supply Board Young singer of the Year Award
1993 Stardust Memorial sculpture, commissioned by Dublin Corporation for the Stardust Memorial Park.
1992 Rugby and Hurling, Commissioned for O'Connell Street Limerick by AIB Bank
1992 Bank of Ireland Allstar Awards. Hurling and Gaelic Football.
1990 An Spéirbhean - for office development in Dublin.
1989 Salmon Leap Fountain, commissioned by Bank of Ireland for their new branch in Ballina, Co Mayo.
1988 The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne, bronze relief plaque, commissioned by Sligo Corporation.
1988 Joyce Trail, Fourteen bronze relief plaques marking the route of Leopold Bloom walk - Joyce's hero from his novel Ulysses.
1986 Relief bronze portrait plaque of Heinz Nixdorf, the founder of Nixdorf Computer.

Private Sculpture Commissions

1987 Portrait of Irish poet Robert Greacen

1980 Portrait of Dr. Mark Hartman.

1973 Portrait of Brita Strong.


1988 Elected associate member of the Royal Hibernian Academy

1987 Tuition scholarship to the New York Academy of Art, a school especially set up to teach the nineteenth century painting and sculpture technique

Exhibitions, One Man Shows

2001 The Bruton Street Gallery, 28 Bruton Street, London

1996 The Bruton Street Gallery, 28 Bruton Street, London

1994 The Jonathan Swift Gallery, Carrigfergus, N. Ireland

1987 Cooldrinagh Gallery, Lexip

1985. Brennanstown House

Group Shows

Royal Hibernian Academy auuual exhibition. each year from1977

Royal Hibernian Academy Banquet exhibition. each year from 1991

2001 The Sculpture Show The Bruton Street Gallery, London

2000 The Sculpture Show The Bruton Street Gallery, London

1998 Cork Arts Society Summer Exhibition, Lavit Gallery, Cork.

The Nude, Group show, Solomon Gallery, Dublin.

The Bruton Street Gallery, London Gallery Artists Summer Show.

1995 The Bruton Street Gallery, Bruton Street London, group show

The RHA in Sligo exhibition, Sligo.

The Cork Arts Society, Cork

1994 The Bruton Street Gallery, London.

The Cadogan Gallery, Knightsbridge, London.

Chris Beetles Gallery, St James, London.

The RHA in Sligo, Sligo.

Frank Lewis Gallery, Killarney.

Oisin Arts Gallery, Dublin. continuous from 1985

1993 Cork Arts Society, Cork

Manya Ingel Gallery, London.

1992 Frank Lewis Gallery, Killarney

1991 Frank Lewis Gallery, Killarney

1990 Oireachtas Art Exhibition

Kilcock Art Gallery, Kilcock, co Meath.

1989 The Lindsay Gallery.

Wexford Opera Festival, Wexford

The Carrol Gallery, Longford.

1988 Suffolk Art Gallery

The James Gallery, Dalkey, Co Dublin

New York Academy Show, New York

1986 Oireachtas Art Exhibition each year from 1980

James Gallery, Dalkey

1985 Apollo Gallery, Blackrock James Gallery, Dalkey

1984 Apollo Gallery, Blackrock

1983 Apollo Gallery, Blackrock

1980 Kilcock Gallery, Kilcock

1981 Stone Gallery, Galway

1979 Kilcock Gallery, Kilcock

1977 Lad Lane Gallery, Dublin

1972 Independent Artists