Sculpture is among the oldest of the arts. Even before painting cave walls, early humans fashioned shapes from stone. From these beginnings, artifacts have evolved to their current complexity.
Among the commonly available stones, only marble has a slight translucency i.e. subsurface scattering that is comparable to that of human skin. It is this translucency that gives a marble sculpture a visual depth beyond its surface and this evokes a certain realism when used for figurative works.
One sculpture that perfectly illustrates both of these instances is The Veiled Virgin, a 19th-century work by Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza.