Guimarães (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɡimɐˈɾɐ̃jʃ]) is a northern Portuguese city located in the district of Braga, in the Ave Subregion (one of the more industrialized subregions of the country), with a population of 52 181 inhabitants, distributed throughout 20 parishes (freguesias in Portuguese), in an urban area of 23,5 km² with a population density of 2 223,9/km².
It is the seat of a municipality with an area of 241,05 km² and 162 636 inhabitants (2008), divided in 69 parishes. The municipality is bordered to the north by the municipality of Póvoa de Lanhoso, to the east by Fafe, to the south by Felgueiras, Vizela and Santo Tirso, to the west by Vila Nova de Famalicão and the northwest by Braga.
It is an historical city that had an important role in the formation of Portugal and it was settled in the 9th century, at which time it was called Vimaranes. This denomination might have had its origin in the warrior Vímara Peres, when he chose this area as the main government seat for the County of Portugal which he conquered for the Kingdom of Galicia.
Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a "bronze".
Common bronze alloys have the unusual and desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling the finest details of a mold. Then, as the bronze cools, it shrinks a little, making it easier to separate from the mold. Their strength and ductility (lack of brittleness) is an advantage when figures in action are to be created, especially when compared to various ceramic or stone materials (such as marble sculpture). These qualities allow the creation of extended figures, as in Jeté, or figures that have small cross sections in their support, such as the equestrian statue of Richard the Lionheart. Modern statuary bronze is 90% copper and 10% tin; older bronze alloys varied only slightly from this composition.
But the value of the bronze for uses other than making statues is disadvantageous to the preservation of sculptures; few large ancient bronzes have survived, as many were melted down to make weapons or ammunition in times of war or to create new sculptures commemorating the victors, while far more stone and ceramic works have come through the centuries, even if only in fragments. As recently as 2007 several life sized bronze sculptures by John Waddell were stolen, likely because of the value of the metal after the work has been melted.