The word patina usually refers to a distinct green or brown surface layer on bronze sculpture

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  • Sir Jacob Epstein, 'Portrait of Iris Beerbohm Tree' 1915
    Sir Jacob Epstein
    Portrait of Iris Beerbohm Tree 1915
    object: 348 x 290 x 228 mm
    Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1996© The estate of Sir Jacob Epstein
  • Bernard Meadows, 'Large Flat Bird' 1957
    Bernard Meadows
    Large Flat Bird 1957
    object: 1110 x 695 x 360 mm
    Purchased with assistance from the Knapping Fund 1997© The estate of Bernard Meadows
  • Constantin Brancusi, 'Maiastra' 1911
    Constantin Brancusi
    Maiastra 1911
    Bronze and stone
    object: 905 x 171 x 178 mm
    Purchased 1973© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

Patina can be created naturally by the oxidising effect of the atmosphere or weather, or artificially by the application of chemicals. Almost all bronze sculpture has been patinated one way or the other but Constantin Brancusi polished his bronzes to reveal the beautiful natural gold colour of the metal.