European Statues
A Piece of History

We are going to address here some of the most famous European Statues. Since ancient history artists have been sculpturing the most impressive statues. There are thousands of them decorating parks, public buildings and cemeteries besides those being exhibited in the greatest museums of art around the globe.

Thinker by Rodin

The Thinker by Rodin one of the most famous statues

  • The Thinker

Le Penseur in French or El Pensador in Spanish, by Auguste Rodin has inspired people worldwide for over a hundred years. It has been used a symbol of mental discipline and philosophy. It portrays a wide range of feelings like sorrow, pain and defeat.

It was originally titled “The Poet” commissioned by the Museum of Decorative Arts in 1880 meant for the entrance of the museum. It never opened its doors and finally Rodin finished the statue in 1902. It was briefly displayed at the entrance to the Pantheon in Paris and then to the Rodin Museum in 1922. After a history of moving places it now resides at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, USA and it’s loaned to museums worldwide

European Statues

The Venus de Milo at the Louvre Museum in Paris

The Venus de Milo at the Louvre Museum in Paris

  • Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo Statue is proudly displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris, this is perhaps one of the most famous statues in the world. The armless Venus was found by a local peasant on the Island of Melos one of the Cyclades Greek Islands in 1820. It was carved by an Antiochian sculptor of the Maeander River called Alexandros son of Menides.

Some scholars have dated the statue to anywhere between 100 and 190 BCE because of its characteristics composition and technology. Due to the customs of the time it was supposed to be dressed and adorned with jewelry. The holes found on the statue are probably attachment spots for armbands and a crown.

European Statues

European Statues

The Statue of David by Michelangelo in Florence

  • The Statue of David

It is located in Florence, Italy on the Accademia Gallery and is one of the most famous statues of the artist Michelangelo. People, who come to Florence, will almost always express a desire to see the original David.

This masterpiece is 14 feet and 3 inches high. His right hand is disproportionately large compared to the body, because in the Middle Ages, David was commonly said to be of “Manu Fortis” or strong of hand, even though David was left handed.

The David was originally intended to reside inside the Duomo of Florence. But when people saw the finished statue they thought it was a waste to “hide” it inside the building. A commission made up of artists of the time like Botticelli and Leonardo was formed to decide where to put it and finally decided at the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio.

In 1872 it was decided, for preservation purposed, to move the one of the most famous statues to the Accademia. It took three days to move it on train tracks from Piazza della Signoria to the museum.

European Statues

La Pieta by Michelangelo

The marvelous statue of La Pieta by Michelangelo
One of the world's most Famous Statues

  • La Pieta

Another great piece of art by Michelangelo is located in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The statue was ordered by French Cardinal Jean de Billheres. It was made for the cardinal’s funeral and eventually moved to its actual location in the 18th Century.

It depicts Jesus on the arms of his Mother Mary after the Crucifixion. It is considered one of the top works by the great artist Michelangelo. In only two years he carved one of the most famous statues ever created.

He decided that Virgin Mary should look young and celestial as opposed of broken hearted and older. The body of the dead Christ is perfection in every muscle, nerve and vein resembling the dead like no other sculpture.

Michelangelo convinces both himself and us of the divine quality and the significance of these figures by means of earthly beauty, perfect by human standards and therefore divine. We are here face to face not only with pain as a condition of redemption, but rather with absolute beauty as one of its consequences.

European Statues

European Statues

Moses by Michelangelo

The Statue of Moses by Michelangelo

  • The Statue of Moses

Michelangelo sculptured on or about 1513 as part of the tomb of Pope Julius II. The posture is that of a prophet, posed on a marble chair, between two decorated marble columns. This posture of Moses also appears in some of the frescoes in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

When Moses found his people worshiping the Golden Calf, the false idol they had made, his anger, profoundly sculptured by Michelangelo, defies the prison of stone.

The famous statue is displayed on the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, in English St Peter on Chains in Rome. The statue is 8 feet 4 inches or 254 cm high. The depiction of Moses with horns on his head is based on a misconception. The Hebrew word “Keren” can be translated as ray or horn for the same word. In the mistranslation of the Hebrew Sculptures into Latin by St Jerome it was translated as horns.

Fighting to create the work he envisaged, in the manner and style he felt was given to him by God. It is true he never completed the Popes tomb, but in Moses we can see once again his restless genius at play. He considered it his most important work.

European Statues

Manneken Pis

The symbol of Brussels, Belgium
The tiny statue of the Manneken Pis

  • Manneken Pis

The Little Pissing Child statue is related to Brussels Belgium as the Tour Eiffel is to Paris, France. This small (smaller than I had in mind before seeing it) statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain basin has been one of the most famous statues and the main attraction of Brussels for a long time. The location is on the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue du Chêne, close to the Groke Markt.

The Mannenken Pis fountain dates back to 1619 when sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy was asked to make a new bronze statue of Manneken Pis, because the old one was withered. The little peeing boy is often dressed.

His wardrobe is stored in the City Museum or King’s House at the Grand Place and it consists of more than 600 costumes. He received his first costume in 1698 from the governor of the Austrian Netherlands on the occasion of festivities organized by one of the guilds of Brussels.

Since then, he has received a new costume whenever any folklorist groups visit Brussels. To his most famous outfits belong the one of Mickey Mouse, another of Elvis Presley, and one of Santa Claus. The costumes are changed according to a schedule managed by the nonprofit association Les Amis de Manneken Pis, in ceremonies that are often accompanied by brass band music.

European Statues


Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park is the main attraction in Oslo Norway

  • Vigelandsparken Sculpture Park

When visiting Oslo, the capital of Norway, Vigelandsparken is a must see attraction. One of the world's most Famous Statues Park is filled with 192 bronze and granite sculptures and locals enjoying outdoor life.

Vigelandsparken, also known as Frognerparken, is one of the most popular places to meet for people living in Oslo. During summers you may find hundred of Norwegians having their picnics, barbecues or just playing around the famous statues in the park.

In the center stands the most famous of them, the Monolith with over 14 meters in height and carved on one single stone. It consists of 121 human figures representing the struggle for existence, man’s resurrection and the transcendence of everyday life and cyclic repetition.

Gustav Vigeland modeled all his sculptures in full size without any assistance of pupils or other artists. The carving in stone and the casting in bronze were left to a number of talented craftsmen. He also designed the layout of the park

As we progress with this website we are going to address more famous statues around the world.

Image Credits:
thinker by rodin n/a
vernus de milo by jorge royan
vigeland park by pudelek
pieta by stanislav traykov
manneken pis by pb rundel

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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