Juxtapositioned between the artistic realm of expression and the coveted alleys of fame is a certain mode of existence that has enthralled humans across all of history. In their striking form and formation, structure and features, these pieces of art have effectively manifested their existence as being promenades of attraction viable to entice and enthral tourists all while being redolent in their cultural, historical and heritage significance that persists despite the aesthetic prominence of them all. Which is why the world brimming with lives galore continues to still seek out semblances of existence in stone, wood and such inanimate things by carving out of them figures of humans and animals and deities and mythical entities, continuing their pursuit of breathing life into even the inconceivable, eking out therefore an altogether mesmerising dimension of statues and sculptures and objects that exist there in an essence of their own. Through ages and years, in history and continuity, countless such statues stand upon the facade of the earth as a form of alternate reality perhaps that speak in all their sum and substance. And while numerous such assertions of life continue to dot the face of the earth, there are some of these statues so famous in their existence that they have emerged to be a landmark of the region where they rest. Listed below are some such most famous statues of the world that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime-
Statue Of Liberty
One of the most recognised statues of the world, the Statue of Liberty in New York is an iconic presence that identifies the country of America in all its exemplary fame. A figure of the Roman liberty Goddess Liberta, the statue was presented as gift to the people of the United States by the people of France and soon emerged to be an icon of freedom and of the country of its standing as well, prominent in her torch bearing right arm and a tablet inscribed with the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence on the other.
Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel, the statue was dedicated on 28th October, 1886 and has weaved itself intricately into the American existence since then, emerging to also be a famous tourist attraction. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site almost a century later in 1984, this ‘masterpiece of the human spirit’ is also a recurring image in popular culture and towers thus well above its 46 meter high physicality to embody an even exalted image of significance.
Christ The Redeemer
Rio De Janeiro
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue stands proud and tall in the colorful Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Indeed steeped in the ideals of Christianity in being a global symbol of the religion but also as much a cultural icon for the country largely identified by this striking presence, the statue is in fact one of the largest such structures across the entire continent of South America. Built sometime between 1922 and 1931, this tallest Art Deco statue of the world that depicts Jesus standing with his arms stretched out wide, some 28 meters to be precise, is prominent also in being a symbol of peace. Standing atop the peak of the 700 meter high Corcovado mountain, the 30 meters tall statue is as iconic a tourist attraction enticing people from far and wide even while being a heritage identity of the people of the land on which it stands.
The Motherland Calls
The tallest statue of the world at one point of time in modern history, Russia’s iconic Motherland Calls statue is a remarkable structure of a woman that stands out in being the centerpiece of the monument-ensemble “Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad”. Significant in being also still the tallest statue of a woman in the world, the 85 meter high construction is an allegorical reference to the motherland and is a stunning manifestation of art, not just in its conception but also in the construction of it. An obvious commemoration of the Battle of Stalingrad, the symbol of indubitable strength and courage atop Mamayeb Kurgan in Volgograd depicts a woman stepping forward with a raised sword which also is the largest sculpted sword in the world.
Imposing and dramatic, and therefore beautiful in a measure that goes beyond the perception of the aesthetics, the statue invokes a reference to the elegance of the extraordinary in every single strand of its beckoning. Standing proud and tall since 1967, the historical significance of the Motherland Calls statue with reference to the Battle of Stalingrad stands as well along the 200 steps signifying the 200 days of strife leading the way to top of the monument.
A statue of a Biblical figure but one that has come to encompass far more significance within the historical realm of the country of Italy where it stands, Michelangelo’s David is perhaps the most famous of all Renaissance sculpture. A 5.17 meter white marble statue that was completed between 1501 and 1504 by an artist considered one of the greatest of all time, the statue was commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, upon which Michelangelo set about to work when he was a mere 22 years of age.
A near perfect rendition of one of the most favored subjects in Renaissance art, the statue soon came to symbolize the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence even when it was unlike any of its earlier depictions in missing out completely on David’s Biblical nemesis, Goliath whom he had defeated. A totally nude figure, the statue of David stands out in being a symbol of strength and youthful beauty, depicting a valour that shone through his eyes resting in a warning glare even as the sheer ‘humanness’ of what is essentially a carved piece of stone continues to encapsulate people all over the world even half a millennia since its inception.
In its very utterance and vision, Denmark’s iconic statue of the Little Mermaid might not be deemed significant enough to merit attention as being one of the world’s most famous of statues. And indeed, in its modest, rather unassuming presence, the statue might not strike as imposing enough to earn a mention among the many much more prominent structures of remarkable reach and stature that the world celebrates in all their giganticness and identity. In fact, the very premises on which the Little Mermaid came to life can be viewed as equally insignificant, being based on the 1837 fairy tale of the same name by celebrated Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. But in the years that followed since its unveiling in 1913, the Little Mermaid quickly rose in stature to be a cultural icon of the capital city of the country, symbolising in fact the identity of its space while also emerging to be a major tourist attraction.
Depicting a mermaid becoming a human, the magical still statue rests on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen however in a distinction that seems to be a misfit for its identity otherwise imbued with beauty, even in the sadness that permeated through her striking features. Sculpted by Edward Eriksen, the bronze and granite statue modelled after ballerina Ellen Price has been a recurring target of vandalism and defacement, but has been restored each time to her originality, making therefore this just over a meter high statue with a century old legacy a more prominent symbol in embodying the beauty of resilience and continuity.
Venus de Milo
One of the most famous works of sculpture from ancient Greece and persisting still in its worldwide popular recognition is the statue depicting the Greek goddess of beauty Aphrodite and bearing the name of her Roman counterpart Venus. Ethereal in its make, having been sculpted out of Parian marble, the statue currently resides at the Louvre museum in Paris ever since its rediscovery sometime in the 19th century, to which it owes also its very recognisable feature of the missing arms. Considered a significant artistic finding then that which went about to experience a greater exaltation in status as an iconic piece of ancient art, going on also to influence many masters of modern art while reasserting still its prominence in hailing from one of the most desirable artistic periods of the Classical period. A recurring existence still in modern culture that asserts the versatility of the statue sculpted sometime between 150 and 125 BC by Alexandros of Antioch, this is a figure that counts as one of the world’s most recognised artworks and continue to permeate still the realms of the cultural scape with its enduring beauty and significance.
Statue of Unity
The world’s current tallest standing statue, the newly constructed Statue of Unity in India is also already among the world’s most famous despite its recent prominence. A 182 meter tall structure modelled on statesman and independence activist Vallabhbhai Patel who also served as the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of a free India. Fondly known as the Iron Man of India, Patel stands high and tall today on the Narmada river in his home state of Gujarat as part of a project envisioned way back in 2013 as ‘Gujarat’s tribute to the nation’. Already a phenomenal tourist attraction in just two years of its inauguration, having outnumbered also footfalls commanded by the iconic Statue of Liberty in 2019, the colossal stature of the Statue of Unity sure embodies the history, heritage and pride of a modern India.
Great Sphinx Of Giza
Mysterious, ancient and spectacular, the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt is one of the many world famous statues that is remarkable in its own right. Backed by a history as colossal as the might of its prominence, this insanely popular world monument dates back to the Before Christ era and was modelled around the mythical creature called the sphinx after which it is named. A reclining figure of the lion bodied, human faced creature, the giant sculpture represents Ra-Horakhty, one of the forms of the Sun God and is a royal incarnation of power and protector according to Egyptian mythology. Carved out of a single limestone ridge that makes it the largest monolithic structure ever made by man, the 4500 years old statue continues to enthuse one and all with the sheer magnitude of its presence as a staggering specimen of art in which mankind has dabbled long through history.
Another nude figure that is among the most famous statues of the world sits in Paris in a deep thinking trance and named therefore The Thinker. Often used as a evocation to reference the deep contemplations of philosophy is this sculpture in bronze built by Auguste Rodin that also is indeed an exemplary specimen of art in its lifelike chiselled body. But of course most essential is the recognition of this particular statue for the state of human thinking it embodies, as the man sits leaning over, his right elbow placed on his left thigh and the classic thinking pose of the chin supported by the right hand. In its essence therefore that which sums up its identity, The Thinker has to be one of the most evocative pieces of art ever produced that encompasses so perfectly one of the prime pursuits of the human mind and spirit in all consciousness or otherwise.
Spring Temple Buddha
The largest statue of the world till only recently, the towering 128 meter high presence of the Vairocana Buddha in the Henan province in China had made it indeed a world famous phenomenon, an identity it continues to enjoy even after losing its global tallest ever distinction. Constructed over a period of 11 years has been this humongous copper statue that stands atop a lotus throne, gleaming in the royal riches of the bounty of gold and steel as well that went into making this gigantic structure. Massive unlike anything that the world had ever witnessed before, the Spring Temple Buddha indeed created all the buzz with its colossal identity for a good long decade before making way for the Statue of Unity in India to take over, but still retaining the glory of its appeal bestowed on it by its Georgian creator Zurab Tsereteli.