There are many famous sculptures that have lasted for tens of thousands of years. It’s absolutely possible to keep sculptures in good condition for an indefinite period of time. The sculptures just need to be stored and handled properly. Metal, ceramic, stone, and glass sculptures all require different forms of care.
Some of the very earliest historical art pieces were made from stone. These works are less likely than others to be damaged by dirt. In fact, while cleaning is an important part of art conservation in general, carved stone can actually degrade much more rapidly if it is cleaned too frequently.
Skin oil can also stain the outside of the stone, which is why it’s so important for all art conservation experts to wear gloves when touching most sculptures. Gloves are especially important when glass pieces are involved. The stains might be even more noticeable and damaging.
There are plenty of sculptures made from glass that have lasted for a long time, even though they’re made from such inherently breakable material. Small factors can make a difference regarding sculpture conservation. For instance, experts who handle these pieces while wearing latex gloves are less likely to drop them. Some types of glaze are chemically reactive, but glass itself is more stable than materials like metal.
People may think that metal statues and sculptures are easier to conserve than many others. However, while a sculpture like this might be comparatively more likely to survive a fall, these pieces have their own vulnerabilities. Metallic materials have a tendency to react with various chemicals in their immediate surroundings. Collectors and curators can prevent at least some of these chemical reactions by using the right protective coatings and managing the conditions of the sculpture’s display and storage environment.