Sculptures have given us an enticing perception to human life in various eras. Artists have communicated through this eternal language of art from the beginning of time and will do so, till doomsday. The oldest statue is known to be made over 30,000-40,000 years ago. No one knows precisely, but western art is said to have originated from ancient Greece, it then grew popular in various civilizations during the time. While there is a vast collection of such beautiful artefacts, here is a list of 12 most famous statues in the world.
12. The Olmec Colossal Heads, Mexico:
The head sculptures of Olmec Civilization were made before 900 BC, on the gulf coast of Mexico. These huge heads were carved using one large basalt boulder. The Olmec Heads are among one of the most mysterious artworks of the world. The monuments represent powerful Olmec rulers. Till date, seventeen heads are found in four different places. According to Mesoamerican culture, the head was given uttermost importance as only the head held the emotions and soul of a person. It is assumed that this is the reason why only the heads of these great rulers were sculpted.
11. Little Mermaid, Denmark:
The little mermaid is a bronze statue made by Edward Eriksen in Copenhagen, Denmark. The statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobson of Carlsberg as a gift to Copenhagen in 1909 and the work completed in August, 1913. The statue sits on a rock several meters out into a harbour. Interestingly, Eriksen’s wife, Eline Eriksen modelled for the statue, although ballet star Ellen Price de Plane was Carl’s first choice, who rejected the offer as she did not want to pose nude. In 2013, Denmark and the whole world celebrated its 100th anniversary.
10. Terrace of the Lions, Delos (Ancient Greece):
The Island Delos is of utmost importance in Ancient Greece as it marks the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. It was a sacred island covered in variety of temples. You will be surprised to know that the island is only 5 kilometres long! You can say it’s just a lump of rock. There are twelve lions, built from stone in honour of the Greek God of music, Apollo.
09. The Thinker, Paris:
The thinker is a bronze sculpture of a life sized man in the nude lost in a deep thought. The artefact, originally named “The Poet”, was to celebrate Dante Alighieri’s most celebrated poem, ‘Divine Comedy’. It was built as an entranceway of a doorway, which was Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’. Auguste Rodin was commissioned to make the ‘Gates of Hell’ for a museum and it required thirty-seven years of work. In all that time, Rodin couldn’t finish the Gates and in an ill-fate, the museum never built. The Thinker was moved to Musee Rodin in Paris after his death as all of his estate was given to French Government.
08. Statue of David, Florence:
Michelangelo is one of the greatest artists of all time. Out of his numerous famous works, the David statue is what distinguished him. It is a 17 feet marble figure which represents the biblical hero, ancestor of Jesus, David. He is shown placidly waiting for a war, with stone in one hand and a slingshot in other. Today, it resides in the Accademia Museum in Florence and is known as one of the greatest masterpiece of Renaissance.
07. The Motherland calls, Russia:
The Motherland calls, also known as The Homeland- Mother is calling, was built in honour of The Battle of Stalingrad. It is the tallest statue of a women to be ever built, excluding the pedestals. The monumental statue, which stands on the banks of river Volga, is remarkably important not only for what it depicts but also from an engineer’s point of view because of its intricate posture. One has to walk 200 steps to go up to the statue, which symbolize the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad. It was the tallest building in the world of its time. However, today the statue is in urgent need of care as it could start falling any day now! It is said to have inadequate foundations and is tilting.
06. Venus De Milo, Paris:
Venus De Milos, preferable called Aphrodite of Milos by the Greeks, is a Grecian masterpiece that was created around 100 BC. According to what is inscribed on the plinth, it is said to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch. It depicts Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty but was named ‘Venus de Milos’ by Romans as Aphrodite was known to them as Venus. It was discovered in 1820 on the island of Melos (now, called Milos) in Greece. It was found in several parts, a nude upper torso, the lower body and a piece that helped both these parts stick together. Olivier Voutier, the French navyman who found the sculpture, never found her arms. These missing arms are the reason why this gem is a shrouded mystery. Also, the goddess originally wore metal jewellery, which had long disappeared from it, making it hard to identify the goddess. She is believed to be Aphrodite because of the naked upper torso for which she is known.
05. Manneken Pis, Belgium:
Manneken Pis is a bronze sculpture of the 15th century which served the purpose of distribution of drinking water, as it shows a baby urinating in a basin. Created in 1965 by Hieronimus Duquesnoy the Elder, it is an insignia of rebellious spirit of the city Brussels. Manneken Pis is dressed in various outfits to celebrate different events around the world and has over a thousand costumes.
04. Great Sphinx, Giza:
The Sphinx is a gigantic statue made from the bedrock of Giza plateau. It is the world’s largest statue that is made from a single stone. A Sphinx, according to Greek mythology has the head of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird, although The Great Sphinx of Giza has the face of a King and no wings. It is a symbol of wisdom and strength. The monument has no inscriptions as to when and by whom it was made and it still remains a mystery, giving birth to numerous hypothesis.
03. Christ The Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro:
Christ The Redeemer is a 30 feet high and 28 feet wide statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro. It holds great religious and cultural significance to Christians all over the world as Jesus Christ, the son of God, warmly receives everyone who comes to visit him . Its construction began in 1922 and took twelve years to complete it. One of the seven wonders of the world, it was build by a collaboration of some fine artists and engineers, Paul Landowski, Gheorghe Leonida, Heitor da Silva Costa and Albert Caquot.
02. The Statue of Liberty, New York City:
‘Liberty Enlightening the World’, popularly known as The Statue of Liberty, is a copper statue standing on the Liberty Island in New York Harbour. A renowned sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, was commissioned to build this beauty. Today, it has become more than just a monument, it is a symbol of friendship, freedom and the view of a new world. French were an important part of America’s struggle to independence against British rule as they provided America with arms, ships and huge amounts of money. A hundred years after the Civil war, as the French were immensely gratified with America’s glorifying success on eliminating slavery and coming out as a democratic country, they gifted America this monument, showing their support to the idea of human liberty.
01. Moai, Easter Island:
Moai statues are collosal monoliths that reside in the Easter Island. They were sculpted way back in 1400 AD by the natives of the island. There are around 1000 gigantic Moai statues and their creation and transportation itself a remarkable thing. There is a huge misconception with these Moai ‘heads’ as these sculptures are actually full bodies encrusted by the volcano they are built upon. These statues are almost 30 feet high, minimalistic pieces of art.
Sculpture are considered to be the oldest form of arts and welcome us to a world, an era, we can barely even imagine! After thousands of years, only a few sculptures survive and is why they are celebrated around the world. They connect us to our origins and tell the tales of an unknown time. Sometimes heroic, sometimes despairing, these artefacts are a true testament of human’s creative and emotional side.