Interesting statues part3: Most popular statues in the worldworld's most beautiful things
1. The Great Sphinx
The Great Sphinx of Giza (Arabic: أبو الهول Abū al Hūl, English: The Terrifying One), commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt.
It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide, and 20.22 m (66.34 ft) high.It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC)
2. David by Michelangelo
David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo. It is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft) marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. Because of the nature of the hero that it represented, it soon came to symbolize the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. The statue was moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.
3. Venus de Milo
30 – 100 BC; Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Aphrodite of Milos (Greek: Ἀφροδίτη τῆς Μήλου, Aphroditē tēs Mēlou), better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans). It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. The arms and original plinth were lost following the discovery. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch; earlier, it was mistakenly attributed to the master sculptor Praxiteles. It is currently on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
4. The Thinker by Auguste Rodin
“The Thinker” (Le Penseur in French) is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, whose first cast, of 1902, is now in the Musée Rodin in Paris; there are some 20 other original castings, as well as various other versions, studies, and posthumous castings. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle. It is often used to represent philosophy.
5. The Discobolus
The Discobolus of Myron (“discus thrower” Greek Δισκοβόλος, “Diskobólos”) is a famous Greek sculpture that was completed towards the end of the Severe period, circa 460-450 BC. The original Greek bronze is lost. It is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble, such as the first to be recovered, the Palombara Discopolus, or smaller scaled versions in bronze. A discus thrower is depicted about to release his throw: “by sheer intelligence”, Sir Kenneth Clark observed in The Nude (1956: p 239f) “Myron has created the enduring pattern of athletic energy. He has taken a moment of action so transitory that students of athletics still debate if it is feasible, and he has given it the completeness of a cameo.” The moment thus captured in the statue is an example of rhythmos, harmony and balance.
6. The Pieta by Michelangelo
The Pietà (Italian pronunciation: [pjeˈta]) is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ. When Christ and the Virgin are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, the subject is strictly called a Lamentation in English, although Pietà is often used for this as well, and is the normal term in Italian.
7. The Kiss by Auguste Rodin
The Kiss is an 1889 marble sculpture by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The embracing couple depicted in the sculpture appeared originally as part of a group of reliefs decorating Rodin’s monumental bronze portal The Gates of Hell, commissioned for a planned museum of art in Paris. The couple were later removed from the Gates and replaced with another pair of lovers located on the smaller right-hand column.
8. Hermes and the Infant Dionysus by Praxiteles
Hermes and the Infant Dionysos, also known as the Hermes of Praxiteles or the Hermes of Olympus is an ancient Greek sculpture of Hermes and the infant Dionysus discovered in 1877 in the ruins of the Temple of Hera at Olympia. It is displayed at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia.
It is traditionally attributed to Praxiteles and dated to the 4th century BC, based on a remark by the 2nd century Greek traveller Pausanias, and has made a major contribution to the definition of Praxitelean style. Its attribution is, however, the object of fierce controversy among art historians.
The sculpture is unlikely to have been one of Praxiteles’ famous works, as no ancient replicas of it have been identified. The documentary evidence associating the work with Praxiteles is based on a passing mention by the 2nd-century AD traveller Pausanias.
9. Bust of Nefertiti
The Nefertiti Bust is a 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. Owing to the work, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world, and an icon of feminine beauty. The work is believed to have been crafted in 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose.
A German archaeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered the Nefertiti bust in 1912 in Thutmose’s workshop in Amarna, Egypt. It has been kept at several locations in Germany since its discovery, including a salt mine in Merkers-Kieselbach, the Dahlem museum (then in West Berlin), the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg and the Altes Museum. It is currently on display at the restored and recently re-opened Neues Museum in Berlin, where it was displayed before World War II.
The Nefertiti bust has become a cultural symbol of Berlin, Germany, as well as of ancient Egypt. It has also been the subject of an intense argument between Egypt and Germany over Egyptian demands for its repatriation. It was dragged into controversies over the Body of Nerfertiti art exhibition and also by allegations regarding its authenticity.
10. The Statue of Liberty by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Some speculated that she was the Egyptian goddess Isis, Mary Magdalene or the Biblical Whore of Babylon.
Others argued that Lady Liberty wasn’t a lady at all, but a man in drag. Bartholdi took the secret of her identity to his grave….but he left behind evidence.
Bartholdi shamelessly copied three designs from other sculptors for his American monument – one for her body, one for her pedestal and another for her head. His first copied design was the Colossus of Rhodes built in 304 BC as a celebration of freedom. Like the statue of liberty, it rose to the same height from head to toe and loomed over the entrance to another busy harbor on the island of Rhodes. The Statue of Liberty’s radiating crown with its seven giant sun-ray spikes is a carbon copy of the Rhodian sculpture built in honor of the Sun God, Helios. His seven rays symbolized the seven seas and seven continents over which he ruled. It took twelve years for the sculptor, Chares of Lindos, to build his giant ‘wonder of the ancient world’. Fifty-six years later, the island of Rhodes was struck by a violent earthquake that shook the giant off his feet and cast him down like a child’s toy into a broken and ruined heap.
11. Christ the Redeemer by Paul Landowski
Christ the Redeemer (Portuguese: Cristo Redentor), is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue stands 39.6 metres (130 feet) tall, weighs 700 tons, and is located at the peak of the 700-m (2296-foot) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city.
A symbol of Christianity, the statue has become an icon of Rio and Brazil.
12. Tian Tan Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of a Buddha Amoghasiddhi, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. The statue is located near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. It is a major centre of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and is also a popular tourist attraction.
12. Moses by Michelangelo
The Moses (c. 1513–1515) is a sculpture by the Italian High Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. Commissioned in 1505 by Pope Julius II for his tomb, it depicts the Biblical figure Moses with horns on his head, based on a description in the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible used at that time.
13. Winged Victory of Samothrace
Louvre, Paris, France
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a 2nd century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world
The Nike of Samothrace, discovered in 1863, is estimated to have been created around 190 BC. It was created to not only honor the goddess, Nike, but to honor a sea battle. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeks considered ideal beauty.
14. The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army or the “Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses”, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife, and to make sure that he had people to rule over.
The figures, dating from 3rd century BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province.
The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits near by Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians
15. The Bronze Horseman by Étienne Maurice Falconet
The Bronze Horseman (Russian: Медный всадник, literally “The Copper Horseman”) is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, it was created by the French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet. It is also the name of a narrative poem written by Aleksandr Pushkin about the statue in 1833, widely considered to be one of the most significant works of Russian literature. The statue came to be known as the Bronze Horseman because of the poem’s great influence and success. The statue is now one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg, in much the same way that the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of New York City. Both of them were designed and built by French artists.
The statue’s pedestal is the enormous Thunder Stone, claimed to be the largest stone ever moved by man (1,250 t). In its original state the stone weighed about 1500 tonnes. It was carved during transportation to its current site
16. The Monument to the Discoveries
Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) is a monument on the northern margin of the Tagus River estuary, in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, Lisbon. Located along the river were ships departed to explore and trade with India and Orient, the monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (or Age of Exploration) during the 15th and 16th centuries.
17. Rahotep and Nofret
Nofret was a noblewoman and princess who lived in Ancient Egypt during the 4th dynasty of Egypt. Nofret married Prince Rahotep, who was a son of Pharaoh Sneferu. She had three daughters and three sons with Rahotep.
Nofret was buried with her husband in mastaba 16 at Meidum. In 1871, beautiful statues of Rahotep and Nofret were found.Nofret is depicted with a black wig and very fair face. Her titles in hieroglyphs on the back of her chair name her as “King’s Acquaintance”.
The pair of statues, for Nofret and Rahotep, have the standard difference of skin color of that time: males are dark because they spend their time in activities in the sun; women always have a fairer skin color, their domain being in the house.
Another major difference in the two statues are the vertical hieroglyph statements. Prince Rahotep has six columns of text, naming his titles and duties, with columns three and six, each ending with his name, Ra-Hotep. Nofret has identical texts, one column both right and left. Her name appears at the bottom, with the determinative for ‘women’. Her complete name is “Nsw-r(kh)-t, Nfr-t”. The last, nfr-t means “beautiful woman” (the t being the bread bun for feminine); nsw-r(kh)-t, means “king(kingdom’s)-wise-woman”. Her name stated twice is: “The wise and beautiful woman”.
18. Apollo Belvedere
The Apollo Belvedere or Apollo of the Belvedere—also called the Pythian Apollo— is a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity. It was rediscovered in central Italy in the late 15th century, during the Renaissance. From the mid-18th century, it was considered the greatest ancient sculpture by ardent neoclassicists and for centuries epitomized ideals of aesthetic perfection for Europeans and westernized parts of the world.
The Greek god Apollo is depicted having just shot a death-dealing arrow. The episode represented may be the slaying of Python, the primordial serpent guarding Delphi—making the sculpture a Pythian Apollo. Alternatively, it may be the slaying of the giant Tityos, who threatened his mother Leto, or the episode of the Niobids.
19. The Dying Gaul
The Dying Gaul (in Italian: Galata Morente), formerly known as the Dying Gladiator, is an ancient Roman marble copy of a lost Hellenistic sculpture that is thought to have been executed in bronze, which was commissioned some time between 230 BC and 220 BC by Attalus I of Pergamon to celebrate his victory over the Celtic Galatians in Anatolia. The present base was added after its rediscovery. The identity of the sculptor of the original is unknown, but it has been suggested that Epigonus, the court sculptor of the Attalid dynasty of Pergamon, may have been its sculptor.
The statue depicts a dying Celt with remarkable realism, particularly in the face, and may have been painted. He is represented as a Gallic warrior with a typically Gallic hairstyle and moustache. The figure is nude save for a neck torc. He lies on his fallen shield while his sword and other objects lie beside him.
The statue was most commonly known as the Dying Gladiator until the twentieth century, on the assumption that it depicted a wounded gladiator in the Roman amphitheatre. Scholars had identified it as a Gaul by the mid nineteenth century, but it took many decades for the new label to become the norm.
20. Apollo and Daphne by Bernini
Apollo and Daphne is a life-sized Baroque marble sculpture by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini executed circa 1622–25. Housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, the work depicts the climax of the story of Daphne and Phoebus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. When Phoebus (Apollo), fated by Cupid’s love-exciting arrow, sees the maiden daughter of Peneus a river god, he is filled with wonder at her beauty and consumed by desire. But Daphne has been fated by Cupid’s love-repelling arrow and denies the love of men. As the Nymph flees he relentlessly chases her—boasting, pleading, and promising everything. When her strength is finally spent she prays to her father Peneus:
‘Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life.’ Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized on all her body, and a thin bark closed around her gentle bosom, and her hair became as moving leaves; her arms were changed to waving branches, and her active feet as clinging roots were fastened to the ground—her face was hidden with encircling leaves.
Phoebus loved the graceful tree, clung to it and kissed the wood:
But since thou canst not be my spouse surely thou shalt be my tree. Thee O laurel my hair, thee my lyres, thee my quivers shall always have … And as my head is youthful with unshorn locks, do thou likewise wear always evergreen honours of foliage. The laurel nodded assent with its branches lately made
Bernini’s sculpture captures Daphne’s transformation with intense emotion and drama by portraying the different stages of her changes. The interlocking components create more narrative, reflecting foundations of Hellenistic Greek art. Moreover, the viewer, by moving entirely around the sculpture, gets to witness the story in action, thus making optimum use of the 360 degree capability that sculpture has over the two dimensions of painting. For this reason, “Apollo and Daphne” is one of the absolute masterpieces of Western Art and a must-see by visitors to Rome.
Also during the Hellenistic period was the androgynous depiction of Apollo. He was slender, young, and had a feminine hair style, all of which are portrayed in this sculpture. Part of Apollo’s iconography is the laurel tree and the wreath, originating from Ovid’s story and illustrated in Bernini’s work.
Did you know that Original Greek statues were brightly painted? To learn about it visit–>True Colors of Ancient Greek and Roman Statues