World's Most Famous Sculptures That Will Leave You Stunned

Famous sculptures
Although new trends are emerging on the art scene, there are many famous sculptures that still have a strong impact due to their graceful compositions. With beautiful flowing lines that depict stories which sometimes remain a mystery, sculptures have the power to evoke various feelings.Some, more than others have been the inspiration to many, over the years, and will remain for generations to come.
David
One of the most famous sculptures of Michelangelo, this nude statue is made of marble, and represents the biblical hero. Regarded as Michelangelo's giant, it is believed to be the most expressive way of showing the spirit of the Florentine Republic, that drove Medici out of Florence in 1494. The original statue contained gold and also a gilt garland on the head. Unfortunately, these ornaments are now lost.
The statue of David was carved between 1501 and 1504 and stands 5.17-meter tall. Initially, it was supposed to be displayed at the Florence Cathedral, but was eventually placed at Piazza della Signoria. Since 1873, the statue of David has been placed in the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts), and has been replaced by a replica at the original site.
The Thinker
A bronze sculpture of a man sitting on a marble pedestal - The statue represents a man in a pensive mood, possibly struggling with an internal conflict. Initially named as The Poet, the statue is nude and was apparently inspired by the famous poem of Dante, The Divine Comedy. It was originally intended to be a part of the door of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts), Paris, however the original cast today of The Thinker is displayed in Musée Rodin, Paris.
The Thinker was created by Auguste Rodin in 1902. Although he developed the first cast of the statue in 1902; it was not until 1904 that he made the statue public. The statue has been cast numerous times all over the world.
Pieta
Pietà is the only work that's been signed by the legendary Michelangelo. Created from Carrara marble, this sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus in her lap. The striking features of the Pietà are the serene and peaceful expressions shown by Mother Mary and Jesus. Michelangelo did not show any traces of agony or suffering caused by the crucifixion of the body of Christ. He has also portrayed Virgin Mary as a young and attractive woman, rather than someone older in age.
This renaissance sculpture was carved within a year, in 1498 - 99, using a drill, and was named Pietà, meaning 'pity'. The statue was initially created for French Cardinal Jean de Billheres, but was later moved from Rome to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, where it is housed even today.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
Also called the Nike of Samothrace, The sculpture is of a Greek goddess personifying victory, and was rendered to honor her and a sea battle. The statue brilliantly and elegantly portrays victory, and the effect of wind on her drapes as she descends from the skies. Originally with a head and arms, the statue today stands with a ceramic right wing and a missing head. However, certain other body parts such as the missing right hand, tip of Nike's ring finger, and her thumb, have been restored.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, whose sculptor is unknown, is a 200 BC (approx.) statue carved out of Parian marble. It is displayed at the Louvre in Paris.
The Little Mermaid
Inspired by the classic tale The Little Mermaid, sculptor Edvard Eriksen chose to cast a bronze statue of the mermaid by following the trend in Copenhagen during 1913, where the city's public areas were decorated with mystical characters and historical figures. Ballerina Ellen Price was requested to model for it. She agreed only to model for the face and not pose in the nude. Hence, Eline Eriksen, the sculptor's wife, was used as a model for creating the rest of the body.
The statue was commissioned by brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1909. With a height of 1.25 meters, The Little Mermaid rests on a perch in Langelinie Park in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Great Sphinx of Giza
This statue is of a mythical creature called a Sphinx, meaning The Terrifying One. A Sphinx has a lion's body but a human's head. It is considered to be a guardian constructed to protect the tomb of Pharaoh Khafre from evil spirits. The statue has a missing nose, believed to be broken by Napoleon's army. A pharaonic beard is also believed to be attached, which may have been a later addition. Due to intense weathering, the Sphinx of Giza is in a state of ruin today.
The Sphinx is carved out of limestone, and is the largest monolith (a geological feature consisting of a single rock) statue in the world. Standing at 20.22 meters high, 19.3 meters wide, and 73.5 meters long. It is believed to have been sculpted by the ancient Egyptians for Khafre during circa 2558 - 2532 BC.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a gift to the United States of America from the people of France. This statue of the Roman Goddess of Freedom bearing a torch, a tabula ansata, and with broken chains lying at her feet, is a signal for receiving immigrants and visitors arriving from a foreign land. America's independence date (July 4, 1776) is inscribed on the tabula ansata. It was built in France and then shipped to Liberty Island, formerly known as Bedloe's Island, where it was assembled on a pedestal.
Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty was gifted to the United States on October 28 1886. French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye suggested that the statue be financed by France while the pedestal and site be provided by the United States.
Advertisement
Moai
These are monolithic statues carved out of a compressed volcanic rock called 'tuff', on the Easter Islands, formerly known as the Rapa Nui Islands, in the Southeastern Pacific ocean. All Moai statues are characterized by their significantly large heads and protruding lips. These are considered to be the faces of their exalted ancestors. They are erected on platforms called ahu. To this date, the process of transportation and erection of the Moai remains a mystery.
These statues were transported from the main quarry area, that is, Rano Raraku and then placed on the shoreline. Out of the 887 excavated so far, 22 were carved from 'trachyte', 17 from 'scoria', and 13 from 'basalt'. The average height of the sculptures is around 4 meters, with the tallest Moai called Paro at 10 meters high.
Tian Tan Buddha
Also known as the Giant Buddha, it is a popular tourist attraction in Hong Kong, China. This bronze statue of Buddha Amoghasiddhi depicts the relationship between man, nature, and religion and shows Buddha sitting cross-legged on a lotus. The right raised hand of Buddha symbolizes eradication of hardships, and the left hand that rests on his lap stands for his vow to make all men happy. The Buddha also has a Dharmachakra that symbolizes the constant turning of the Wheel of Dharma or religion.
Completed in 1993, it is situated near Po Lin Monastery, and is 34 meters tall, weighing 200 metric tons. This sculpture was made from 202 pieces of bronze, with solid framework of steel providing internal support.
Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo is the most acknowledged work of Alexandros of Antioch, Greece. Earlier, it was mistakenly believed to be the creation of Praxiteles, but after studying the inscription on the sculpture's plinth, the work was attributed to Alexandros. The statue is of the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty. It is made of marble and is 2 meters high; the arms and plinth of Aphrodite were lost after its discovery.
Aphrodite of Milos was created approximately between 130 and 100 BC. This Hellenistic art of third century BC is exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Discus Thrower
The statue now in marble, was originally cast in bronze, but has since been lost. This sculpture shows striking symmetry between all the body elements, and perfectly expresses the moment right before the discus is about to be released. The discus thrower has been replicated into various forms of marble and other bronze varieties. Often, like the copy in the British Museum (and as shown above), the head of the athlete is incorrectly restored, when ideally it should be looking towards the discus.
The Discobolus is a sculpture by Myron, made between the years 460 - 450 BC. Discus-throwing was the prime factor in the pentathlon, where the physique of the pentathletes was greatly admired, since no particular muscle was fully developed, unlike other athletes.
Apollo and Daphne
Apollo and Daphne is a marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and is inspired by the story of Apollo and Daphne from Ovid's narrative poem Metamorphoses. The statue was one of the works that was created under the commission provided by the Borghese family. The sculpture is 2.5 meters tall, and was made between 1622 - 1625. This masterpiece made Bernini a greatly respected sculptor, because of the narrative 360° display that it offers. Gallerie Borghese in Rome houses this statue today.
Lady Justice
The Lady Justice statue is one of the most famous statues and is a moral symbol in judiciary. In Greek mythology, Themis' daughter was depicted carrying scales, and hence the Lady Justice is regarded as an entity that balances the scales of truth and equality. The Greek Goddess Themis holds the scales in her right hand, but there are also numerous versions of Lady Justice holding the scales in the left hand, with the right hand holding a double-edged sword symbolizing rationality and justice.
The sculpture, which is not credited to any one sculptor, is the Roman Goddess of Justice. The first ever known portrayal of Lady Justice blindfolded is the Fountain of Justice statue of Hans Gieng, dating back to 1543. The blindfold represents that the judgment should be based on what is observed and not influenced by any partial emotions.
The Kiss
Initially named as Francesca da Rimini, the title was inspired by Dante's poem Inferno, where an Italian woman falls for her husband's younger brother, and upon finding out about their affair, the husband kills the couple. The sculpture is carved in such a way that the couple's lips do not touch each other, implying that they were interrupted. Given the theme of the statue, it wasn't allowed for public display, and could only be seen after prior application and permission.
The Kiss was created by French sculptor Auguste Rodin in 1889. In 1887, critics and scholars suggested the name to be changed to a less direct title, and hence it was renamed Le Baiser (The Kiss). Today, the statue is owned by the Musée Rodin Museum in Paris, and is currently on loan to Turner Contemporary in Margate, Kent (March 2012).
These were some of the many sculptures by celebrated artists all over the world. Although most of them are centuries old, the legacy of the artists continue to live on through their masterpieces, even today.
Advertisement