These are the stories behind the most famous sculptures of all time


Sculptures are such an important part of our culture. They define cities, become the symbols of eras and tell stories of times gone by. Sometimes a famous sculpture may even be all that we really know about a city and we fly to farthest places just to see them up close. Today we will visit five sculptures and learn a little bit about their stories and the stories of the hands that crafted them patiently over time.

1. Pieta by Michelangelo


Pieta is located in St. Peter’s basilica in Vatican and it was created in 1499. No wonder we chose this piece to be the first one on the list because Michelangelo was arguably the most influential sculptor of all time. He completed Pieta when he was only 24 years old. Pieta is a theme in Christian art, it depicts Virgin Mary supporting the body of Christ after the Crucifixion. It is not a part of the Biblical narrative but it is a very important part of Christian art. What is interesting is that Michelangelo was criticized for showing Mary too young, considering that Jesus Christ was 33 years old at the time of the Crucifixion. Yet, Michelangelo said that her youth actually symbolizes her incorruptible purity. It is such a beautiful idea. Also, Pieta is the only sculpture that Michelangelo actually signed. His signature can be found across Mary’s chest.



2. Christ the Redeemer


Christ the Redeemer is located in Corcovado mountain, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it was created by Paul Landowski in 1931. The project was proposed by the Roman Catholic circle in Rio de Janeiro, in 1921. The height was supposed to be of monumental height so that it could be seen anywhere in Rio. It was designed by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and created by French sculptor Paul Landowski. The sculpture stands 98 feet (30m) tall excluding its 26 feet (8m) pedestal. It has become a very important symbol for Christians around the world. Also, it is a cultural icon of the beautiful Brazil. The statue was also voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.



3. Manneken Pis


Manneken Pis is located in the Museum of the City of Brussels in Belgium and it was created by Hieronymus Duquesnoy the Elder in 1619. The name of the tiny statue is “peeing boy”. It’s a small bronze statue depicting… well, exactly that. The boy is peeing into a basin of a fountain. It is located in the center of Brussels and is considered to be the symbol of its rebellious spirit. The sculpture is one of the most visited objects in Brussels. It often gets dressed up in various costumes, it also received gifts from kings and it has even been abducted. Actually, the current statue that can be seem from the street is a copy that is there since 1965. The original Manneken Pis is kept at the Museum of the City of Brussels.



4. The Thinker


The Thinker is located in Musee Rodin, in Paris and it was created by Auguste Rodin in 1904. Rodin is often considered to be the father of modern sculpture. Originally The Thinker was created as a part of a larger sculpture, based on The Divine Comedy by Dante. Critics even say that it depicts Dante himself. Rodin created many versions of The Thinker but the most famous version, which is 6 feet (1,8m) tall can be seen in the gardens of the Rodin Museum in Paris. Also, The Thinker was originally named The Poet and it often represents philosophy as a whole.



5. Statue of Liberty 


The Statue of Liberty in located Liberty Island, Manhattan, New York City and it was created by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi in 1886. The statue depicts Liberty, the personification of the concept of liberty. Surprisingly, Liberty was the symbol of French Revolution and the statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States. The statue was built by Gustave Eiffel, the same person who also engineered the famous Eiffel tower. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom not only for the U.S. citizens, but also for the entire world. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It is also the most famous sculpture in the world.


Thank you for joining us in this sculpture-appreciation trip around the world!