Sculptures- commemorating events, immortalising individuals : Statues or sculptures are usually created as a symbol for any event. All around the world, human civilization has been witness to monuments being built as a mark of tribute to a larger-than-life personality or for commemorating a special event. While a number of these monuments are easily comprehendible and straightforward in design, there are others that are very strange. Very often a direct result of famous sculptors going overboard with their creativity, these famous statues and monuments nevertheless carry a message or are linked to certain events. A giant yet impressive sculpture is a great way of commemorating an event and making a public statement of intent.
In this list of the top ten most famous sculptures in the world, we have focussed on those famous statues and landmark monuments that have been designed in a bid to withstand the fury of the natural elements. Some of them, however, have been moved to museums for better preservation and maintenance.
#10. Famous Greek Sculptures – Delos Lions Terrace
Famous Greek Sculptures – Delos Lions Terrace
The Delos Island in Greece is regarded as one of the most important archaeological, historical, and mythological sites in the country. The place was heralded as a holy sanctuary for over a millennium before being turned into the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo in Olympian Greek mythology. The Terrace of the Lions was built shortly before 600 BC by the people of Naxos in dedication to Apollo. There were around nine to twelve marble guardian lions lining the Sacred Way. However, only five survived while remains of another three can be found at the spot. In the year 1999, the authorities had the original statues moved to the Delos Museum.
#9. Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark
Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark
This is a bronze statue that depicts a mermaid and can be found the harbour area of Copenhagen in Denmark. The Little Mermaid is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that goes by the same name. An unimposing and small statue, it stands out as an icon in the city and has been one of the most popular tourist attractions since the year 1913. On a not so positive scale, this statue has become the prime target for defacement by political activists and vandals. Standing at only four feet tall, the Little Mermaid sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour.
#8. Famous Sculptures – The Thinker
Famous Sculptures – The Thinker
Created by one of the most famous sculptors in the world, Auguste Rodin, this sculpture is made of bronze. The work is that of a nude male figure at close to life-size. He sits on a rock, chin resting on one hand, as if the individual is deep in thought. This famous sculpture is used as an image to represent a statement of philosophy around the world. There are as many as twenty-eight castings in full size, with the figure of The Thinker standing 186 cm in height. It should be noted that not all of the sculptures were made during the lifetime or under the supervision of Rodin. It was in 1880 that he first conceived this figure as part of another of his projects but it was not until 1904 that the sculpture first appeared in bronze casting.
#7. The Motherland Calls in Volgograd, Russia
Famous Sculture – The Motherland Calls
The Motherland Calls statue, or The Motherland as it is simply known as, is a famous sculpture in Volgograd (former Stalingrad) that was built to commemorate the Battle of Stalingrad. At 85 meters tall, it was declared the largest statue in the world in the year 1967 and was the last non-religious sculpture to receive this accolade; ever since, every statue that has earned the right of being the largest in the world has been a sculpture related to Buddhism. Compared to the ones that have usurped her position, the Motherland Calls sculptor is seemingly more complex as far as the engineering perspective is concerned. It has a characteristic posture with the left hand extended in the form of a gesture of call and the right hand raised high, holding a sword. As a symbol of the 200 days of fighting, there are 200 steps leading up to the monument from the bottom of the hill.
#6. Olmec Colossal Heads in Mexico
Famous Sculptures of Mexico – Olmec Colossal Heads
An ancient pre-Columbian civilization, the Olmecs lived in the tropical lowlands around the south-central Mexican territory where the modern states of Tabasco and Veracruz stand today. Rough estimates suggest that the civilization flourished around the period of 1400 BC to 400 BC. The most recognized aspect of this civilization are the gigantic helmeted heads that stand in the region, believed to be portraits of the rulers who lead the people during those days. No two sculptors are like and the unique headdresses feature distinctive elements to adorn them. As many as seventeen such heads have been found with the shortest being 1.47 meters and the tallest standing at 3.4 meters.
#5. Statue of David, Italy
Italian Most Famous Sculptures – The Statue of David
One of the most famous sculptures the world has ever seen, the Statue of David is a Renaissance masterpiece. It was created by the world-renowned Italian sculptor Michelangelo in the period of 1501 to 1504. Standing at seventeen-feet tall, this is an upright sculpture of a male nude made out of marble. The statue is of David, the famous Biblical hero and can be found at the Florence Accademia Gallery whose halls it has graced since 1873.
#4. Moai, Eastern Islands
Famous Sculptures of Eastern Islands – Moai
These are monolithic human figures that were carved out from rock between the years 1250 and 1500 by the Rapa Nui people. Nearly every single moai has a large head that covers nearly three-eighths the length of the entire statue. Paro, the tallest moai ever to be erected, was as tall as 33 feet and weighed a massive 75 tonnes. The heaviest one, weighing 86 tonnes, was relatively shorter and squatter. There is one unfinished moai sculpture that would have been an astonishing 69 feet tall and 270 tonnes heavy had it been completed on time.
#3. The Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt
Famous Sculpture of Egypt – The Great Sphinx of Giza Cairo
Popularly known as the Sphinx, this is a limestone depicting a mythical figure bearing a lion’s body and a human head. It can be found on the western banks of the River Nile atop the Giza Plateau. The Sphinx, one of the seven wonders of the World, is the largest monolithic statue, 66 feet high, 63 feet wide and 241 feet long. It is also the oldest monumental sculpture known to mankind. Historians believe that the Great Sphinx sculpture was built around 2558-2532 BC by people of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
#2. Christ The Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Famous Statues in Brazil – Christ The Redeemer Statue – Rio de Janeiro
Apart from being regarded as the fifth largest statue of Jesus around the world, this famous sculpture is also considered to be the largest Art Deco statue that exists on the planet. Standing tall at a height of 98 feet, its arms stretch out over a length of 92 feet- and we are not even considering the fact that the statue stands on a 26 foot high pedestal. Christ the Redeemer stands on top of the Corcovado Mountain which is 2300 feet tall. While it is one of the most famous monuments in Brazil and South America as a whole, the statue is one of the most renowned icons of the city of Rio. Construction of this famous statue took place between 1926 and 1931.
Christ The Redeemer Statue Night View
#1. Statue of Liberty in New York, USA
The Most Famous Sculptures – Statue of Liberty
Standing on the Liberty Island in Manhattan, this statue was handed over to the USA by the people of France in the year 1886. The Statue of Liberty was a symbol to commemorate the hundredth anniversary since the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The statue stands as an icon of freedom as well as a symbol of the United States of America. For all immigrants arriving from abroad, she is a very welcoming sign.
Human civilization has been graced with numerous famous sculptors who have presented the world with equally famous sculptural works. Sorting out one over the other is by no means easy, nevertheless we have made every effort in providing you with a comprehensive list of the ten most famous sculptures in the world.