Sculptures are an under-appreciated art form. While some people just assume they are a bunch of rocks put together, true fans know how complex they can actually be. It takes great creativity and skill to make sure that artists form beautiful models from these natural materials.
We’ve collected some of the most amazing sculptures from around the world. Some of these are award-winning pieces of art that are appreciated all over the globe. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones we could find…
“Dramatic Fairy Sculpture Dancing With Dandelion” – Robin Wight, UK
Even though fairies are mythical creatures, this statue from Robin Wight is definitely the real deal. The artist primarily works with stainless steel wire and creates a series of fairy sculptures that often battle the struggles of high winds.
Here, we can see the amazing detail put into every part of the statue. From the wisps in the hair to the firmness of the body, Wight made sure all of her sculptures have the same level of depth.
“Colossus” – Giambologna, Florence, Italy
Famed Italian sculptor, Giambologna, created Colossus back in the 1500s. This makes it an undeniable feat in architecture and design. Originally created as a symbol for the Italian Apennine mountains, it stands 35 feet tall in Tuscany.
What many people don’t know about Colossus is the fact that it actually has entire rooms inside of it. According to historians, there are several rooms inside that if lit up correctly, sprouts smoke from his nostrils. Tourists can visit the statue on weekends.
“Love” – Alexander Milov, Ukraine/Burning Man Festival
This Ukranian-based artist created a powerful image that explores the inner child in all of us. Alexander Milov designed two wire-frame adults sitting back-to-back. Then, he placed two lights in the shape of children facing each other. The statue made such an impact that it was even featured in Nevada’s Burning Man Festival in 2016.
Many people are praising the sculptures for showing us the love we have for one another – even if it means we have to dig quite deep to find it. It is always there.
“The Force Of Nature II” – Lorenzo Quinn, Italy
The Force of Nature II has traveled the world and is somewhat of a famous sculptor in the art community. To date, it has been presented in Shanghai, New York, London, and Doha. Artist Lorenzo Quinn created this series of sculptures that depicts Mother Nature as a woman throwing the planet around like a ball.
Its impact reminds us just how delicate the world is and how we are all just guests on this fleeting planet. Quinn describes the statue as a peace offering to the Gods ‘in the hope of quenching their anger’.
“Mustangs at Las Colinas” – Robert Glen, Texas, USA
Mustangs at Las Colinas was designed to celebrate the wild mustangs that were significant inhabitants of Texas. The set of sculptures were deliberately placed inside a fountain to give the impression that they are running through splashing water. Although commissioned back in 1976, it wasn’t installed until 1984.
Today, Mustangs at Las Colinas is located opposite the Mustangs of Las Colinas Museum and can be enjoyed by millions of tourists every year.
“Black Ghost” – Svajunas Jurkus and Sergejus Plotnikovas, Klaipeda, Lithuania
This sculptor, whose native name reads as ‘Juodasis Vaiduoklis’ is the eerie image of a black ghost coming out of the sea. Located in the small Lithuanian town of Klaipeda, it sits near Memel Castle.
The statue was inspired by a tale from 1595, when a sailor claims to have seen a man ‘with no face’ appear from the water. The bronze statue crawls at a length of almost 2.5 meters. Today, it is one of the most popular spots in Klaipeda.
“The Caring Hand” – Eva Oertli and Beat Huber, Glarus, Switzerland
The Caring Hand was designed by Oertli and Huber as a gentle and caring reminder to look after the environment and take our responsibility for our part in it. Wrapping fingers around a tree in Glarus, Switzerland, it is one of the many interesting pieces of art in the country.
There are many sculptors in the Glarnerland region, which is just one hour from Zurich. Interestingly, Glarus is one of the two towns that still practice direct democracy – doing so by ‘raising a hand’.
“Freedom” – Zenos Frudakis, Philadelphia, USA
Back in 2000, sculptor Zenos Frudakis designed a work of art that explored our human need to ‘break free’ from a situation. He perfectly encapsulated what it means to have the need to escape from a situation and highlight the internal struggle of adversarial circumstances.
The back end of the statue is eight feet high and 20 feet across, with one last additional statue representing the ‘free’ person to break the mold. “He evokes an escape from his own mortality,” Frudakis explains.
Mihai Eminescu, Onesti, Romania
In Romania lies a statue of Mihai Eminescu, the poet, novelist, and journalist. Despite dying back in 1889, he is largely considered one of Romania’s most successful poets. There are many sculptors dedicated to the poet today, and his presence in Romania is felt almost everywhere.
Here, we can find one of the most unique examples of work praising the writer. As the sun sets each night, we can see how the colors light up his face and give him life once again.
“The Rain Man” – Jean-Michel Folon, Italy
This hybrid of a sculptor and a fountain was designed by Jean-Michel Folon and gifted to the city of Florence. It debuted in 2002 and has quickly become a popular art spot in the subsequent years. Its Italian name translates to “L’Uomo Della Pioggia”.
In total, the man stands at nearly three meters high and the real water falls all around him in the shape of an umbrella. He can be found on the crossroad between Lungarno Aldo Moro and Viale Enrico de’ Nicola.
“Diminish And Ascend” – David McCracken, Bondi, Australia
We’re heading down under now to Bondi in Sydney, Australia. This infinite stairway to heaven certainly appears that way – but only from certain angles! In actuality, the statue is 12 meters long and reaches heights of ‘just’ 3.8 meters.
Art-lovers can view the statue from specific angles and take a picture with the statue seemingly leading us all the way to heaven. It appears in Bondi every year as part of the ‘Sculptures By The Sea’ series.
“Popped Up” – Ervin Loránth Hervé, Budapest, Hungary
Popped Up was one of the biggest highlights at the 2014 Art Market Budapest, the international contemporary art fair. The statue depicts a man climbing out of the land and ready to cause some serious havoc.
Although the piece was a temporary installment for the festival, it quickly made its rounds on social media. The giant statue attracted thousands of pictures from impressed visitors. Sadly, the polystyrene piece is no longer resting there.
“Vicissitudes” – Jason Decaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies
Resting under the water in the West Indies lies Vicissitudes, just one of the many sculptors in the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park. It is a collection of ecological underwater contemporary art found in the Caribbean.
Vicissitudes was installed in 2007 and rests 14 feet below the sea level. It is Taylor’s most recognizable piece out of the entire collection. In total, the piece weighs 15 tonnes and is intended to demonstrate children’s ability to adapt to new things.
“Rain” – Nazar Bilyk, Ukraine
Back to Ukraine for another impressive piece of art, this time by sculptor Nazar Bilyk. The six-foot-tall statue uses bronze and glass to give the impression that a large raindrop has landed on someone’s face.
Bilyk has described the piece as follows: “The raindrop is a symbol of the dialogue which connects a man with a whole diversity of life forms. The figure has a loose and porous structure and relates to dry land, which absorbs water.”
Shadow Street Art, Kaunas, Lithuania
Shadow art is a fascinating addition to sculptors that use the sun and their surroundings to enhance the work around them. Here, we can see how a statue is placed next to some drawings of stars on the wall nearby. Their connection seems hardly special during the day…
Once the sun sets, the street lights present us with a whole new angle on the pieces of art. Now, they go together hand in hand, with the man’s shadow spreading the stars along the ground.
“The Architectural Fragment” – Petrus Spronk, Melbourne, Australia
This curious piece of art has a peculiar history to it. Commissioned in 1993, artist Petrus Spronk wanted to physically show the weight of knowledge and the impact it can have on the human mind. So, he designed a sinking library that cannot stand under its own weight.
Another interpretation of The Architectural Fragment is somehow even more depressing. It is supposed to symbolize the downfall of civilization, both in the past and present.
“God of War” – Han Meilin, China
Christ The Redeemer: eat your heart out! This enormous statue shows us Guan Yu, a famous general in Chinese history. He stands TALL in Guan Yu Park at a staggering 58 meters (190ft). For context, Christ The Redeemer is 38 meters tall.
This massive statue weighs more than 1,300 tonnes and was designed by Han Meilin, who was also responsible for the 2008 Bejing Olympics. Even though westerners know Guan Yu as the God of War, the Chinese praise his brotherhood and loyalty.
“Hippo Square” – Chen Pao-Chung Taipei, Taiwan
These cute fellas have a home in Taipei Zoo and were actually designed by the zoo’s Director. He wanted them to complement the African Animal area with art that reflected the natural creatures of the region. Quickly, his idea was approved and builders got to work!
The result was this ‘wildly’ popular installation that attracts thousands of visitors each year. These sculptures are often considered one of the most creative designs out there. Just make sure you visit the real hippos, too!
“Shoes On The Danube Bank” – Can Togay and Gyula Pauer, Budapest, Hungary
Resting along the Daube River, Shoes On The Danube Bank is a permanent memorial for the Jewish people who were killed by Arrow Cross militiamen during WWII. The shoes are a symbol for the people of all shapes and ages who were persecuted for their religion.
Jews were ordered to take off their shoes before they were shot and killed on the bank of the river. The sculptures were laid to rest in 2005 and have been a powerful addition to the east side of the river ever since.
“Les Voyageurs” – Bruno Catalano, Marseilles, France
Les Voyageurs is a series of sculptures that depict hard-working humans with large sections of their bodies missing. They were first released in 2013 in accordance with Marseilles award as the European Capital of Culture.
What is missing from these traveling workers? Is it something they’ve lost, or chosen to sacrifice for the chance at a better life? The striking statues pose many questions and leave us with a feeling of empathy.
“Monument to the Anonymous Passerby” – Jerzy Kalina, Wroclaw, Poland
Przejście is a collection of 14 human-looking statues sinking into the ground in Wroclaw, Poland. Many people associate it with the folks who went missing or were killed in the 1980s during the martial law.
The sculptures are divided with seven people on each side of Swidnicka Street. The collection was installed in 2005 and represents how the authoritarian government forced people to hide ‘under the ground’ during martial law until its end in 1983.
“Ocean Atlas” – Jason deCaires Taylor, Bahamas
Ocean Atlas is an 18-foot tall statue that rests in the seas of Nassau in the Bahamas, To date, it is the largest underwater sculpture in the world. The piece depicts a struggling girl trying to carry a heavy burden.
The piece was named after Atlas, the Greek god responsible for carrying the heavens on her shoulders. Taylor proudly acknowledges how it is also adding more coral reef space for sea life in the waters.
“De Vaartkapoen” – Tom Frantzen, Belgium
First erected back in 1985, De Vaartkapoen is a funny statue of a policeman being tripped up by a citizen who has appeared from the manhole. For more than 30 years, it has been entertaining the people of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek.
According to Tripadvisor, it’s one of the top attractions in Brussels, which is telling. Today, it has become one of the top ‘Instagrammable’ spots in the city and attracts hundreds of photos a month. Time to explore an iconic African figure…
“Nelson Mandela” – Marco Cianfanelli, Durban, South Africa
In 2012, South African artist Marco Cianfanelli revealed the latest set of sculptures dedicated to Nelson Mandela. It marked the 50-year anniversary of the activist’s capture and imprisonment and is made up of 50 steel columns each between 21-29 feet in height (9 meters).
While the design is clearly of his face, the poles also symbolize the 27 years of imprisonment before Mandela was released and became the country’s President. The monument is so large that visitors can walk between the poles and get close and personal to the art.
“People of the River” – Chong Fah Cheong, Singapore
People of the River is located on Cavenagh Bridge in Singapore. It was designed by Chong Fah Cheong and was intended to highlight the positive and happy times enjoyed by young people in Singapore in the past.
While you are no longer allowed to swim in the Singapore River, it is a reminder of how people young and old could spend time together in peace. It wasn’t too long ago that people could hear the energetic sound of the young.
“The Kelpies” – Andy Scott, Scotland, UK
Standing tall near the River Carron, The Kelpies are two 30-meter high sculptures depicting the shape-shifting water spirits known as kelpies. Ever since their reveal in 2013, they have attracted millions of visitors from all over England, Wales, and more.
The sculptures are part of a larger project and they will actually have their own visitor center and rest next to a pool and leisure area. These massive structures were welded by hand and made of steel.
“Knotted Gun” – Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, New York, USA (and more)
The original Knotted Gun rests outside the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. It was designed in 1985 and has been used as the symbol of the Non-Violence Project since 1993.
There are 31 copies of the original statue, and they are placed around the world in ‘strategic’ places that are intended to raise awareness about gun crime and non-violent alternatives. The gun used as the model is a Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver.
“Heart of Trees” – Jaume Plensa, Yorkshire, UK
The Heart of Trees sculptures is a collective group of self-portraits cast in bronze. In each one, the artist has designed it so that he is wrapped around a living tree. The intention is that the trees will grow INTO the statues, thus merging humans and nature together forever.
Plensa describes the body as a vessel for information and a surface on which to record words. Therefore, each body has the names of noteworthy artists such as Beethoven or Gershwin.
“Transcendence” – Keith Jellum, Oregon, USA
This is definitely one of the most creative sculptures we’ve seen on the list. Whoever said that these incredible art installations had to stay on the ground? Here, we can see local artist Keith Jellum construct a salmon swimming straight through a building. It is located at 901 SW Salmon Street in Oregon.
In total, the statue is around 11 feet long and made of welded bronze. Those who visit the charming city can see his piece of art as well as a myriad of other installations.
“Man Hanging Out” – David Černý, Prague, Czech Republic
This statue, designed and built by David Černý, is just one of the amazing pieces of art by the artist. Located in the Old Town, many people have actually mistaken it for a real person! It was first erected in 1996 and has been attracting crowds ever since.
Černý is known for his provocative artworks and this is clearly no different. To date, Man Hanging Out has been on display in London, Michigan, and Grand Rapids.
“The Rising Tide” – Jason Decaires Taylor, London, UK
Since 2015, The Rising Tide has been poking out of London’s River Thames and is considered the city’s first underwater sculptor. Depending on the tide at the time of the day, onlookers can see four horses and their riders poke out of the water and say hello.
In 2006, Jason Decaires Taylor founded his sculptor park (which we’ve already discussed) and demonstrates some of the most amazing pieces of underwater art available today.
“A Day Out” – Marguerite Derricourt, Adelaide, Australia
Since 1999, Adelaide’s citizens have walked through Rundle Mall and been met by four happy-go-lucky pigs. But don’t worry! These charming animals are just sculptors that are there to brighten up everyone’s day.
A Day Out is just one of the many art installations in the area and has proven to be a popular one over the last 20 years. Sadly, because so many people enjoy playing with them, one of the pigs had its tail removed for safety reasons.
“Cattle Drive” – Robert Summers, Texas, USA
Located in Pioneer Plaza in Dallas, these life-size sculptors rest along the water. Cattle Drive was designed to commemorate the cattle that would walk along the route in the 19th century. Altogether, there are 49 bronze statues making it the largest bronze statue of its kind in the world.
Most people who journey through Texas stop off in Dallas to catch a photo with these incredible statues. The project was completed in 1994 and cost $9.2 million, with cost split between private donations and city funds.
“METALmorphosis” – David Cerny, North Carolina, USA
Located in the Whitehall Technology Park, METALmorphosis was an impressive 7-meter, 13-tonne statue of a human head. It rested in a large reflection pool that had 40 layers designed into seven different pieces.
All of the seven different pieces could be individually moved and rearranged, making it a true feat in architecture and design. In 2017, the statue was removed but its legacy remains strong among Charlotteans and visitors alike. Originally, the statue would squirt water from its mouth like a fountain.
“The Unknown Official” – Magnus Tomasson, Reykjavik, Iceland
This 1993 statue can be found standing at one of the entrances to the Reykjavik City Hall. It has proven to be a favorite among visitors since it can evoke feelings of humor as well as concern. For example, while the look of a massive rock on someone’s head might be funnier, it rings a somber tone of the trivial existence within corporations.
For most of us, these corporate officials aren’t real people but simply a cog in the wheel. The statue is a stark reminder that there is a person underneath the rock.
“The Headington Shark” – John Buckley, Oxford, UK
Similar to Transcendence in Oregon, this British town has a statue of a Great White Shark diving head-first inside of a home. The shark appeared on the top of the home in 1986 and took three months to build.
Technically, the statue is called Untitled 1986 but people adopted the moniker The Headington Shark due to the fact that it is the only shark in Headington. In true British fashion, there was some controversy around it since it didn’t follow proper bureaucratic planning permission policies.
“Man At Work” – Viktor Hulík, Bratislava, Slovakia
This bronze statue’s official name is Čumil, meaning ‘The Watcher’. There are a few interpretations of the man and what he represents. The first is that he is a typical communist-era worker who doesn’t care about the work he is supposed to be doing.
The second is that he is watching the view from under women’s skirts! It’s up to you which meaning you want to go with, but we would personally prefer to think of the first one. It is the most photographed statue from Bratislava.
“Iguana Park” – Hans van Houwelingen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This collection of 40 individual statues can be found in Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen, a popular square in Amsterdam. The bronze sculptures each depict a group of iguanas and lizards that rest all around the area.
Tourists are encouraged to walk around the area and examine all of the intricate and unique statues that cover the area. If you’re a tourist in Amsterdam, make sure you don’t trip out and think they’re actually real iguanas!
“Expansion” – Paige Bradley, New York, USA
Expansion is an amazing look at the power we all have from within us. According to artist Paige Bradley’s website, she conceived of the piece when she first moved to Manhattan. She examined the culture of critics and curators and thought, “what do they demand as ‘show-worthy’?”
Bradley had designed the woman in the lotus position and had to do the unthinkable: destroy it. Only then could she get the lights inside and let the true power of the sculpture speak for itself.