Lead

DEFINITION

A soft, malleable, ductile, easily fusible, dull medium-gray, dense metal used in containers for corrosives, solder, tire-ballancing weights, bullets, and radiation shielding. Lead has been removed as a POISONOUS!component of pencils, house paints (white lead) and much gasoline because of its toxicity. Lead was added to bronze alloys by the ancient Chinese, by the Etruscans, and by the Romans, forming an alloy known as leaded bronze. Lead was used also as the principal metal in some alloys used for cast sculpture generally combined with tin in making pewter, or with antimony. Such sculpture often requires an armature. Elemental symbol Pb; atomic number 82; atomic weight 207.19; melting point 327.5?C; specific gravity 11.35; valence 2, 4. Also refers to the grooved lead strips called came used in making stained glass.(pr. led)Examples of works produced in lead: Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944), The Three Nymphs, 1930-8, cast 1937-8, lead, 157.5 x 146.7 x 80.6 cm, Tate Gallery, London. Maillol preferred the lead for this group because he felt that bronze would be too dark in character for the sculpture's theme.Richard Serra (American, 1939-), Prop, 1968, lead antimony, 97 1/2 x 60 x 43 inches (247.7 x 152.4 x 109.2 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. See Minimalism. Related resource: Pigments through the Ages on red lead. Also see antimony, graphite, lead glaze, leading, and poison.

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