30 most famous sculptures in the world you should know

30 most famous sculptures in the world you should know

Sculpting is an ancient form of art that has existed since prehistoric periods. According to history, the earliest known sculpting works date from around 32,000 BC into the Palaeolithic period. Since then, there have been many sculpting works, including ones that have made it to the history books. Learn more about these world-famous sculptures.

The Statue of Liberty (L), Bust of Nefertiti (C) and Christ the Redeemer statue (R)
From left to right: The Statue of Liberty, Bust of Nefertiti and Christ the Redeemer statue. Photo: Anthony Devlin, Photo12, Yasuyoshi Chiba (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

TABLE OF CONTENTS

We strive to provide our readers valuable insights and information through our various rankings and lists. When compiling this list of famous sculptures, we used data from Art De Vivre, Ranker and similar websites. This list is not exhaustive and may not align with everyone’s perspective.

Famous sculptures in the world

The world's most famous statues include works of art from various iconic artists throughout history. Though countless statues exist, these iconic ones rank high due to their relevance, significance, beauty, and style. Here is a list of some of the most famous sculptures, each with its creator.

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The Bust of NefertitiBy Thutmose
DavidMichelangelo
Apollo BelvedereGiovanni Angelo Montorsoli
Venus De MiloAlexandros of Antioch
The Winged Victory of SamothraceUnknown
Statue of LibertyFrédéric Auguste Bartholdi
Laocoön and His SonsAgesander, Polydoros and Athanadoros
Apollo and DaphneGian Lorenzo Bernini
Venus of WillendorfUnknown
DiscobolusMyron
Christ the RedeemerLandowski, Silva Costa, Leonida, Caquot
Manneken PisJerôme Duquesnoy
Great Sphinx of GizaUnknown
MosesMichelangelo
Statue of Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln Memorial)Daniel Chester French
Ecstasy of Saint TeresaGian Lorenzo Bernini
PietaMichelangelo
The ThinkerAuguste Rodin
The Little MermaidEdvard Eriksen
Perseus with the Head of MedusaBenvenuto Cellini
The KissAuguste Rodin
The Burghers of CalaisAuguste Rodin
Cloud GateAnish Kapoor
Terracotta ArmySubjects of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Equestrian Statue of Marcus AureliusUnknown
MamanLouise Bourgeois
Moai RapaNui people
MetalmorphosisDavid Černý
The Dying GaulEpigonus
The Capitoline WolfAntonio del Pollaiuolo

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Nefertiti Bust

The bust of Queen Nefertiti is on display in the Neues Museum.
The Nefertiti bust sculpture from around 1340 BC is shown in the Neues Museum. Photo: Christophe Gateau
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Thutmose
  • Medium: Limestone
  • Created: 1345 BCE; Thutmose, Ancient Egypt
  • Subject: Nefertiti

The Nefertiti Bust is among the world's most famous statues and an icon of feminine beauty. It is the sculptured bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. It is on display in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

David

The original 16th-century statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia.
The original statue of David (16th century) by Italian artist Michelangelo Buonarroti in central Florence. Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Michelangelo
  • Medium: Carrara marble
  • Created: 1501–1504
  • Subject: Biblical David

Standing tall at 5.17 metres, David is a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance sculpture Michelangelo. It is the first colossal marble statue made in the early modern period following the classical era.

Apollo Belvedere

The sculpture "Apollo of the Belvedere" of Antonio Canova.
Apollo of the Belvedere of Antonio Canova at the Museum of Rome at Palazzo Braschi in Rome, Italy. Photo: Stefano Montesi
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli
  • Medium: White marble
  • Created: AD 120–140
  • Subject: Greek god Apollo

The Apollo Belvedere depicts the Greek god Apollo standing, having just shot an arrow. It was discovered near Rome in the late fifteenth century and is possibly a second-century marble copy of a bronze original by the Greek sculptor Leochares.

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Venus De Milo

The Venus de Milo with an arch above.
The marble sculpture of Venus de Milo in a museum. Photo: Corbis
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Alexandros of Antioch
  • Medium: Marble
  • Created: 2nd century BC
  • Subject: Greek goddess Aphrodite

The Venus de Milo or Aphrodite of Melos is an ancient Greek marble sculpture at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Archaeologists found her in 1820 on the Greek island of Melos (now called Milos).

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

The Winged Victoire of Samothrace in Paris, France.
The statue of Victoire de Samothrace portrays the Greek goddess Nike in Paris, France. Photo: Steve Christo
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Medium: Parian marble
  • Created: 2nd century BC (190 BC)
  • Subject: Greek goddess Niké (Victory)

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, or the Nike of Samothrace, is a classical sculpture initially found on the island of Samothrace, north of the Aegean Sea. It depicts a winged woman alighting on the bow of a warship.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island.
The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in the Hudson River in New York City, New York. Photo: Anthony Devlin
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
  • Medium: Copper
  • Created: 1886
  • Subject: Roman goddess Libertas

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. The statue is a figure of Roman goddess Libertas holding a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand, carries a tabula ansata.

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Laocoön and His Sons

The Laocoön and His Sons statue is on display in the Museo Pio-Clementino.
The statue of Laocoön (or Laocoon) and His Sons, also called the Laocoön Group, is on display in the Museo Pio-Clementino, a part of the Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy. Photo: Lucas Schifres
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Agesander, Polydoros and Athanadoros
  • Medium: White marble
  • Created: 27 BC to 68 AD
  • Subject: Laocoön, Sea serpent

Laocoön and His Sons is a marble sculpture that depicts a Trojan priest and his sons battling serpents. It was excavated in Rome in 1506 and put on public display in the Vatican Museums, where it remains today.

Apollo and Daphne

The Apollo and Daphne masterpiece on preview at Galleria Borghese Museum.
The Apollo and Daphne masterpiece by Italian baroque artist Gianlorenzo Bernini at the Galleria Borghese Museum in Rome, Italy. Photo: Roberto Serra
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini
  • Medium: Marble
  • Created: 1622–1625
  • Subject: Apollo (Phoebus) and Daphne

The Apollo and Daphne sculpture depicts the climax of the story of Phoebus and Daphne, as written in Ovid's Metamorphoses. It captures when the nymph Daphne escapes Apollo's advances by transforming into a laurel tree.

Venus of Willendorf

'Venus of Willendorf' figurine pictured at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria.
The prehistoric 'Venus of Willendorf' figurine from the palaeolithic era is pictured at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Helmut FOHRINGER
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Medium: Limestone, red ochre
  • Created: 25,000 BP (Before Present)
  • Subject: Woman

The Venus of Willendorf dates to 24,000–22,000 B.C.E., making it one of the oldest and most famous surviving works of art. Archaeologists recovered it on 7 August 1908 at a Paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria.

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Discobolus

The ancient Discobolus sculpture by Myron.
The ancient Discobolus sculpture by Myron depicts a youthful Greek athlete poised athletically. Photo: Sepia Times
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Myron
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: 460–450 BC
  • Subject: Ancient Greek athlete throwing a discus

Myron initially sculpted the Discobolus in bronze in about 450 BCE. However, it is known today only through marble Roman copies. The Discobolus represents a youthful ancient Greek athlete poised to spin around and release the discus.

Christ the Redeemer

The statue of Christo the Redeemer atop Corcovado Hill in Rio de Janeiro.
Former volleyball player Maria Isabel Barroso Salgado holds up the torch of the Rio 2016 Olympic games in front of the statue of Christo the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: YASUYOSHI CHIBA
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Paul Landowski, Heitor da Silva Costa, Gheorghe Leonida, Albert Caquot
  • Medium: Reinforced concrete with soapstone veneer
  • Created: Between 1922 and 1931
  • Subject: Jesus Christ

Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This statue is one of the top modern sculptures in the world. A symbol of Christianity worldwide, the statue is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

Manneken Pis

The Manneken Pis or le Petit Julien statue in Brussels, Belgium.
The famous Manneken Pis statue near the Grand Market in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Nicolas Economou
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Jerôme Duquesnoy
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: Mid-15th century
  • Subject: Puer mingens

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Manneken Pis is a landmark bronze fountain sculpture in central Brussels, Belgium. It depicts a puer mingens, a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin.

Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx at the Giza Pyramids Necropolis west of Egypt's capital.
The "Dream Stele" of the ancient Egyptian king Thutmose IV is pictured between the paws of the Great Sphinx of Giza, west of Egypt's capital. Photo: Khaled DESOUKI
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Medium: Limestone
  • Created: Around 2500 BC
  • Subject: A reclining sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion. Archaeologists believe the face of the Sphinx represents the pharaoh Khafre.

Moses

Leah and Rachel flank the sculpture of Biblical Moses in Rome, Lazio.
The sculpture of Moses being flanked by Leah and Rachel at the Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli Rome, Lazio. Photo: DeAgostini
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Michelangelo
  • Medium: Marble
  • Created: 1513–1515
  • Subject: Biblical Moses

Moses is an iconic sculpture of the Biblical Moses housed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. It depicts Moses with horns on his head based on a description in chapter 34 of Exodus in the Latin Vulgate.

Statue of Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln Memorial)

Abraham Lincoln's statue inside the dome of the Lincoln Memorial.
The Abraham Lincoln statue sits inside the Lincoln Memorial dome in Washington, DC. Photo: Raymond Boyd
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Daniel Chester French
  • Medium: Georgia marble (Murphy marble)
  • Created: 1914–1922
  • Subject: Abraham Lincoln

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The Statue of Abraham Lincoln is a colossal seated figure of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The work follows the Beaux Arts and American Renaissance style traditions.

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa

The restored sculpture The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa at the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome. Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini
  • Medium: Marble
  • Created: 1647–1652
  • Subject: Teresa of Ávila

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is a marble and gilded bronze sculpture depicting Saint Teresa of Ávila in a moment of religious ecstasy. The artwork is at the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome.

Pieta

Michelangelo's sculpture of Pieta in Rome's St Peter's Basilica.
Pieta by artist Michelangelo in Rome's St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy. Photo: Steve Christo
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Michelangelo
  • Medium: Marble
  • Created: 1498–1499
  • Subject: Jesus and Mary

The Pietà, meaning pity of compassion, is a sculpture of Mary sorrowfully contemplating the dead body of her son. The marble structure is in Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.

The Thinker

Auguste Rodin's sculpture The Thinker sits in a garden at the Musée Rodin in Paris, France.
Rodin's celebrated sculpture, The Thinker, at the Musée Rodin Museum in Paris, France. Photo: Yves Forestier
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Auguste Rodin
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: 1904
  • Subject: A naked male figure thinking

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The Thinker is a bronze sculpture situated atop a stone pedestal. The work depicts a naked male figure of heroic size sitting on a rock in deep thought and contemplation.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid bronze sculpture in Copenhagen.
The Little Mermaid, by the Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen, is located in the bay of the Port of Copenhagen. Photo: Oscar Gonzalez
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Edvard Eriksen
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: 1909–1913
  • Subject: The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, depicting a mermaid becoming human. The statue is about the 1837 fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa

The statue of Perseus with the head of Medusa.
Perseus with the head of Medusa, statue by Benvenuto Cellini in the Loggia dei Lanzi, Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Tuscany, Italy. Photo: DeAgostini
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Benvenuto Cellini
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: 1545
  • Subject: Perseus beheading Medusa

Perseus with the Head of Medusa is a bronze sculpture depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda. The artwork is at the Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

The Kiss

A cameraman films "The kiss" sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin
"The kiss" sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin is seen in an exhibition in Madrid. Photo: PHILIPPE DESMAZES
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Auguste Rodin
  • Medium: Marble
  • Created: 1882
  • Subject: Embracing naked couple

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The Kiss is a sculpture of an embracing naked couple in Paris, France. Originally, Auguste Rodin entitled the work Francesca da Rimini but later changed it to The Kiss in 1887. The artwork has become a symbol of love.

The Burghers of Calais

Auguste Rodin's "bourgeois de Calais" in the city of Calais.
French sculptor Auguste Rodin's "bourgeois de Calais" (The Burghers of Calais) is pictured in front of the northern French city of Calais' city hall. Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Auguste Rodin
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: 1884–89
  • Subject: The Six Burghers

The Burghers of Calais is an iconic monument celebrating the collective sacrifice of six French noblemen during the Hundred Years' War. The city of Calais commissioned Rodin to create the sculpture in 1884, with the completion in 1889.

Cloud Gate "The Bean"

The Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago
Cloud Gate, known as The Bean, is seen at AT-and-T Plaza at Millennium Park in Chicago, United States. Photo: Beata Zawrzel
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Anish Kapoor
  • Medium: Stainless steel
  • Created: 2004–2006
  • Subject: Liquid mercury

Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois, is among the world's most stunning contemporary sculptures. Anish Kapoor constructed the artwork between 2004 and 2006.

Terracotta Army

Qin Terracotta Warriors exhibited In Shandong Museum
The Terracotta Warriors during The Unification of Qin Dynasty exhibition at Shandong Museum in Jinan, Shandong Province of China. Photo: Zhang Yong
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Subjects of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
  • Medium: Clay
  • Created: 210–209 BCE
  • Subject: Armies of Emperor Qin Shi Huang

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The Terracotta Warriors were discovered accidentally in 1974 by farmers who, while digging for a well, unearthed several figures. The sculptures, believed to be more than 8,000 soldiers, depict the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.

Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

The Marcus Aurelius statue.
The Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. Photo: Education Images
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Medium: Bronze, originally gilded
  • Created: 161 AD–180 AD
  • Subject: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is a gilded bronze monument initially dedicated to the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. The original is displayed in the Capitoline Museums, while the replica stands in the open air at the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome.

Maman

The Spider bronze sculpture Maman at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain.
Tourists view the spider bronze sculpture Maman by Louise Bourgeois at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. Photo: Tim Graham
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Louise Bourgeois
  • Medium: Stainless steel, bronze, marble
  • Created: 1999
  • Subject: Spider

If you want cool sculptures, Maman by artist Louise Bourgeois is ideal. They comprise an original in steel and six subsequent castings in bronze located in several sites worldwide.

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Moai

The ceremonial platform Ahu Tongariki in the southwest of Easter Island with 15 Moai.
Ahu Tongariki, the ceremonial platform, is seen southwest of Easter Island, with 15 Moai representing the ancestors of the Polynesian natives. Photo: Denis Düttmann
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Rapa Nui people
  • Medium: Lead
  • Created: 1250 and 1500
  • Subject: The living faces of the deified ancestors

Moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in eastern Polynesia. The moai are the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna).

Metalmorphosis

  • Artist: David Černý
  • Medium: Stainless steel
  • Created: 2007
  • Subject: Human head

Metalmorphosis consists of 40 steel pieces grouped into seven segments, independently rotating 360 degrees, forming a giant metal head when aligned. The sculpture is in the Whitehall Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Dying Gaul

A Roman copy of The Dying Gaul statue in Capitoline Museum.
"The Dying Gaul," an ancient Roman statue from Rome's Capitoline Museum. Photo: CM Dixon
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Epigonus
  • Medium: White marble
  • Created: 323-31 BC
  • Subject: A Gladiator

The Dying Gaul is an ancient Roman marble semi-recumbent statue in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. It is a copy of a now-lost Greek sculpture from the Hellenistic period believed to have been made in bronze by Epigonus.

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Capitoline Wolf

The sculpture of Romulus and Remus suckling at a she-wolf.
Romulus and Remus suckling a she-wolf sculpture in the Musei Capitolini in Rome, Italy. Photo: Sean Gallup
Source: Getty Images
  • Artist: Etruscan people (wolf), Antonio del Pollaiuolo (twin boys)
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Created: 5th century BC (wolf) and late 15th century AD (twins)
  • Subject: A she-wolf suckling human twin boys

The Capitoline Wolf shows a she-wolf suckling the mythical twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The wolf portion of the statue dates back to around the 5th century BC, while the twins date back to the late 15th century AD.

What is the world's most famous sculpture?

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is among the most well-known statues in the world. Other notable examples include the Moai in Easter Island, the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt and the Terracotta Army in China.

Who is the greatest sculptor of all time?

Michelangelo is considered by many to be the greatest artist of all time based on his iconic works. However, the topic is debatable, with sculpture artists like Praxiteles, Donatello, Auguste Rodin, and others in contention.

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What is the world's finest sculpture?

David by Michelangelo is one of the world's finest sculptures based on realism, craftsmanship, and highly detailed anatomy.

What is the most beautiful classical sculpture?

According to Statues, Venus de Milo is one of the most beautiful classical sculptures. The marble sculpture, believed to depict the Greek goddess Aphrodite, is one of the world's most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture.

Above are some of the most famous sculptures in the world. They include sculptures of David by Michelangelo, Bust of Nefertiti, The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, Venus De Milo and Pieta by Michelangelo, among others.

Yen.com.gh featured an informative piece about the most famous philosophers and their ideologies. Philosophers are renowned for their knowledge and theories that have helped shape and influence the world.

The most famous philosophers have left a trove of knowledge and wisdom. They include well-known names like Aristotle and Plato, among others. But which other famous philosophers and their ideologies have helped shape the world?

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Chris Ndetei (Lifestyle writer) Christopher Ndetei is a junior reporter writer who joined the Yen team in May 2021. He graduated from the Machakos Technical College in 2009 with a diploma in ICT. Chris has over two years of experience in content creation and more than ten working in the hospitality industry. He covers lifestyle/entertainment, focusing on biographies, life hacks, gaming and guides. In 2023, Christopher finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. You can reach him at chrisndetei@gmail.com