In cultures of different countries the concept of the most famous sculpture can vary. So, for the inhabitant of New York the most famous statue is undoubtedly the Statue of Liberty. Therefore, making the top ten of the most famous and significant statues is not an easy task.
Everyone can and do not agree with the rating, because many other world masterpieces have not got into it – it’s the goddess Nika in the Louvre, the Manneken boy in Brussels, the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, the monument to Kafka in Prague, the motherland in Volgograd and the already mentioned statue Freedom.
At this place deservedly settled the work of Michelangelo’s “David”. This work symbolizes it only the Renaissance, but also the human creative genius as a whole. In 1501, the ambitious and young Michelangelo received a contract to create a statue of David, so she adorned the Cathedral of Florence. I must say that the idea to surround the building with twelve large sculptures of the characters of the Old Testament was in the air half a century before. However, by 1464 only two sculptures were made, one of them was done by Donetello, and the other by his pupil Agostino di Duccio. Then the work began on a giant block of marble for the future statue of David. However, Agostino left the job together with the death of his teacher, soon the contract was interrupted and with the next architect – Antonio Rossellino. By the beginning of the 16th century, marble was a miserable sight, but experts decided that the stone is suitable for processing. For about two years the work of Michelangelo continued, in his works the sculptor departed from the tradition of portraying David with the head of Goliath in his hands. This statue depicts a young hero who seems to be just preparing for a great battle. Upon completion of the work on the statue, it was decided not to place it in the temple, but to decorate the main city square. There, the “David” replaced “Judith and Holofernes” by Donatello, personifying the heroic struggle of citizens against tyranny and for freedom. Over time, in 1873, the statue was moved to the Academy of Fine Arts to protect the masterpiece from the effects of precipitation and wind. And in the Piazza della Signoria in 1910 there is a copy of the sculpture. It is interesting that exactly “David” is one of the most copied sculptures, there is even a “David” in the Pushkin Museum. Scientists and researchers carefully studied the body of the depicted hero, it was discovered that David was not circumcised in sculpture, contrary to Jewish traditions. It also turned out that in order to achieve greater artistic expression, Michelangelo deliberately distorted the proportions of the hero’s body, especially in its upper part. Scientists believe that between the right shoulder blade and the spine, in addition, one muscle is missing.
Another masterpiece of sculpture is Venus de Milo. Its copy adorns the halls of museums, various institutions and private mansions. The work itself since 1821 is exhibited in the Louvre. The author of the popular and perfect sculpture remained unknown, and the exact time of its creation is unclear. It is estimated that it was created from 130 to 100 years BC. Its authors at different times were considered sculptors Praxitel or Agesandr. Work height of more than two meters is the goddess of beauty Aphrodite, made of white marble. Interestingly, this type of work (Aphrodite of Cnidus) was first created as far back as 350 BC, the goddess shyly covered the fallen clothes with her hand. The sculpture was discovered in 1820 by peasant Jorgos Kentrothas from the island of Milos, located in the Aegean Sea. Originally, the statue was found in the ground in a general state, with hands. However, the subsequent conflict between the French and the Turks for the right to own a sculpture led to its damage. The base was also lost, indicating the author of the work. For certain it is not known what the hands of the goddess were, there are versions that it was a mirror and a shield, or an apple handed to Aphrodite by Paris.
“The Thinker” Rodin occupies the third place in our rating, it is interesting that the most famous work of the sculptor was originally conceived as just a part of the composition dedicated to the “Divine Comedy” of Dante. The author planned that a group of his sculptures would decorate the gates of the Parisian Museum of Decorative Arts. Initially, the work was called “Poet”, Roden depicted in it the most Dante, and she had to take the central place above the gate. However, the sculptor realized that the statue has a much broader theme, the person embodied in it has a deep internal struggle. The work itself was created in the period 1880-1882, the original took its place in the museum of Rodin, in Paris, and a bronze copy is on his grave. Around the world are scattered more than 20 copies of the work, the most famous of them are at the gates of Columbia University, at the gate of the museum of Rodin in Philadelphia. The model for sculpture, as well as for many other works of the master, was the muscular boxer Jean Bo. The height of the statue today is 181 cm
Michelangelo’s other famous work was his “Lamentation of Christ”, created in 1499. The work height is 174 cm, it adorns itself today with St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican. This is the first master’s piece and the most famous one. In addition, this is the only work of Michelangelo, signed by him. Sculpture is a figure of the Virgin Mary and Christ in full size. The client of the work was Cardinal Jean Bilher, who decided that such a sculpture should decorate his tomb. However, in the 18th century the statue was moved to one of the basilicas of St. Peter’s Basilica. In addition to damaging the fingers of the hands of the Madonna during transportation, in 1972 the creation was attacked by a geologist with a hammer, after restoration the statue is fenced with bullet-proof glass. The sculpture itself depicts the Virgin Mary holding the body of her son after his death. The composition is carved from a single piece of marble, Mary is depicted as young and extraterrestrial, in opposition to the then-current principles of portraying Madonna as tired, despondent and heartbroken. Michelangelo created a complex composition, as in one sculpture came together two large figures. Here they are treated as a single whole, although the masculine and feminine, the living and the dead, skillfully nakedness and clothing, and the vertical and horizontal position of the bodies are skillfully opposed. The large folds of Madonna’s clothes are a kind of pedestal for the whole composition, embodying the spiritual power of a woman and contrasting with her soft facial features.
Typically, art historians dispute the place in the masterpiece lists this image of Octavian Augustus, like his predecessor Julius Caesar, but they are known to everyone from school. Octavian was the first Roman emperor, he was made to merit the cessation of civil strife and the establishment of peace in Rome. Being the grand-nephew of Guy Julius Caesar, the emperor did not possess his genius, but he skillfully used the means to be available to him. After the death of Emperor Augustus, his famous marble sculpture, covered with sheet bronze, was created. The sculpture was found in 1863, at the villa of the Emperor’s wife. The statue is a copy from the bronze original created in 20 BC, it is believed that she has a portrait resemblance to Octavian himself. Today, the two-meter statue “Augustus of Prima Porta” is kept in the Vatican Museum of Ciaramonti. The portrait depicts Octavian, referring to his troops, Cupid at his feet testifies to the origin of the genus Avgustov-Julius from Venus.
Love has always inspired the creators to create masterpieces, one of the most famous romantic couples in the history of steel Francesca da Rimini and Paulo Malatesta. They inspired Dante, he also dedicated his sculpture “Kisses” and Rodin. Initially, the work was to be part of the composition “The Gates of Hell,” but the master soon realized that the sculpture did not fit the mood, and singled it out into a separate composition.To create a sense of reality, Roden skillfully used shadow and light, later a similar technique using colors was used by the Impressionists. At the time of the creation of the sculpture, the creator experienced an affair with the young Camille Claudel, who was twenty-six years younger than him. It is not surprising that the love that burned in Rodin’s heart prompted him to create a sculpture reflecting not only the classic plot, but also his own feelings. The sculpture is now in Paris, in the museum of Rodin.
One of the most recognizable statues in the world is undoubtedly “Justice”, which depicts the goddess Temis or the Themis. A woman is shown with her eyes closed, in one her hand is a sword, and in the other – a scales. This image of justice came to us from ancient Greece and Rome. The bandage symbolizes impartiality, scales – faith and justice, the goddess who weighed the bad and good deeds of a person, determining his posthumous fate. The sword represents revenge, while the weapon is double-edged, thus symbolizing not only punishment, but also a warning. Today, there are a lot of such statues, it is difficult to single out one of them, although the image itself is extremely replicated. The image of Themis in this form can be found in any court.
The classical period in ancient culture gave the civilization a masterpiece of “Discobolus” by the ancient Greek master Myron. Shortly before the great victory of the Greeks over the Persians in the famous marathon battle, with the onset of the world, artists and sculptors, optimistic, began to create in a more realistic manner. The original sculpture of the 5th century BC. now is in Rome, in the National Museum, and it is made of bronze. Miron’s contemporaries characterize him as the greatest expert in anatomy, who was not able, however, to give individuals a feeling. For the most part, Miron depicted heroes, gods and animals, in honor of the creator was even named one of the craters on Mercury. Interestingly, a copy of the sculpture located in the British Museum, is incorrectly located head.
Until now, only one masterpiece of Praxitel, an ancient Greek sculptor, has survived. This – “Hermes with the Child Dionysus”, created in 330-340 BC. in Olympia, where it is kept until now. Praxitel was famous for his ability to depict the features of the head and face, especially his hair. Many researchers tried to discover the secret of the sculptor by studying Hermes, but this remained a mystery. Marble work was discovered in 1877 during the excavation of the temple of Hera, its height along with the pedestal was 370 cm, the height of the Hermes is 212 cm. The right hand of the god did not survive, apparently it contained grapes to which the baby was stretching, while proportions of the child as was customary in classical art – adults. Hermes is also depicted stopping during the journey, leaning on the trunk of a tree. Scientists believe that hair, drapery, eyes and lips of Hermes were painted, as this technique was used by Praxitel. The poses of the heroes of this composition differ from those previously adopted, constrainedly straightened, which glorified the author.
The last place in our ranking was taken by the relatively recent work “A Girl from Savannah Feeding Birds”. Its author was the sculptor Silvio Gou Jadson, the very same work was created in 1936, to decorate the garden in Massachusetts. The statue had four copies, one of them later was in the cemetery of Savannah, Georgia. Remembered about the statue only in 1994, when her picture was on the cover of the novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Now the image of the girl is kept in the Savannah Art Museum.