I suppose this is the Michael Angelo technique. His statues were in the block of stone – all he had to do was remove the stone around them to reveal the form. View full article here
That is a very evocative post for me. It brings back to mind something I've never thought of for at least sixty years: "Michael Angelo strikes the rock and brings forth Moses".
It was a coloured frontispiece in a volume of Arthur Mee's Childrens' Encyclopaedia and showed Michael Angelo with chisel and hammer in hand apparently hitting a stone wall and Moses appearing as if by magic. When I first saw it I was too young to understand just what the title of the illustration was trying to tell me and I remember I honestly believed as a very young child that Moses had somehow been cemented into the rocks and this bloke Michael Angelo had released him.
Fortunately my comprehension came on swiftly in leaps and bounds and the unknown sacrifices my parents had made to purchase that ten (twelve?) volume red leather bound set of books paid dividends. I wish I had them now.
Thank you for restoring a memory to me. Such things are precious to me nowadays.