The World of Sculptures

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”, said Michelangelo Buonarroti, who is regarded as the most popular Italian sculptor of the High Renaissance. Studying about the Humanist movement in 14th century Europe during History class or reading the “Easy like Sunday Morning” section of the daily newspaper, The Hindu, was what inspired me to write this article. The urge to research about iconic sculptures has never been this real.

1) Monument to the Laboratory Mouse

This sculpture by Andrei Kharkevich has been placed in Novosibirsk Akademgorodot in Siberia, Russia. It stands in a park directly in front of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics, of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The spell-bounding part about this sculpture is that it commemorates mice used for scientific (specifically genetic) research in laboratories around the world.

It portrays a mouse as an old woman, wearing glasses and knitting. But the catch here is that the mouse seems to be knitting the double helix of a DNA strand. Andrei Kharkevich described the statue saying, “It combines both the image of a laboratory mouse and a scientist, because they are connected to each other and serve one cause.”

2) Greyfriars Bobby fountain

In Edinburgh, Scotland, one can witness this bronze life sized statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier. Interestingly, there’s a story behind the making of this one.

Even though the protagonist of the story is the dog himself, it all starts with a nightwatchman named John Gray. Bobby always stayed with John Gray since watchmen were required to have dogs at the time. After John died, he was buried in Greyfriars Kirk in old Edinburgh. What intrigued everybody was that after John’s death, Bobby guarded his grave for a total of 14 years!

He stayed there until he himself died from cancer of the jaw on 14th January, 1872. Bobby was also buried close to John Gray’s grave.

This statue by William Brodie, thus holds a special importance. Apart from this, there have been books such as “Greyfriars Bobby”(1912) by Eleanor Atkinson and movies like “The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby” which present this story.

3) Le Poète (Le Penseur)

A lot of you might identify this sculpture as ‘The Thinker’ which most of us have read/heard about, portraying a man in deep thought and contemplation. While researching about it, I learned that ‘Le Poète’ was the initial name of that popular statue itself.

Sculpted by Auguste Rodin, this bronze statue represents Philosophy and can be seen in Musée Rodin in Paris. The fact that struck me was that it was originally made for surrounding a doorway called ‘The Gates of Hell’ in 1880, based on Dante Alighieri’s ‘Divine Comedy’.

4) Mount Rushmore

In the Black Hills in South Dakota, we find this stunning sculpture carved into granite by Auguste Rodin’s friend, Gutzon Borglum with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. This is known by the locals as “The Six Grandfathers”.

The sculpture exhibits heads of American Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt , and Abraham Lincoln. These four Presidents were recommended by Borglum because they represented the nation’s birth, growth, development and preservation, respectively.

5) Jatayu

India obviously holds the honour of the World’s largest statue, the Statue of Unity; but now, we also have the World’s largest bird sculpture at Jatayu Earth Centre in Chadayamangalam in Kollam district of Kerala.

The story behind this was that when Ravana came to abduct Sita to take her to Lanka, Jatayu tried to save her by fighting Ravana. Unfortunately, since Jatayu was old, he couldn’t defeat him. Ravana did not show any mercy, though. He clipped Jatayu’s wings and the place where he fell is the current location of his statue. Even after being almost helpless, later when Lord Rama came back, Jatayu told him where Ravana went so as to make it easier to find him and get Sita back.

6) Pillar of Shame

Created by Jens Galschiøt in 1997 ( the year when Hong Kong was liberated from British rule after 150 years), Pillar of Shame stands to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre wherein protests by college students were overthrown by the Chinese military.

Or shall I say, “ It stood”? on Hong Kong soil.

Around midnight, on the 23rd of December this year, the statue was demolished and lifted via a crane out of the college campus it stood in. Because of the National Security Law imposed on the city last year, people are much too afraid to speak against such actions in fear of being imprisoned for life. According to CNN, Galschiøt called the statue’s removal “a very hard attack against the free word in the world”. He believes that the massacre needs to be remembered and spoken about.

From Madame Tussauds museum to the frescoes on the ceiling of Sistine chapel to the Pieta or Christ the Redeemer, art has a lot to offer and all of these not only have a unique background to them, but also give us a meaningful insight into the mannerisms of the society and culture at the time of them being built, making them crucial for our study of the past.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. seerat says:

    This has me intrigued!! An extremely vivid and precise account about sculptures I personally wasn’t aware of. Thanks for expanding my knowledge from the frontiers of Antoni Gaudí alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was too interesting to write about as well. The fact that there are so many more of these is what makes the whole thing wonderful. I’m happy that you liked it<3

      Liked by 1 person

  2. neerjaalreja3057 says:

    Wonderful info!

    The amzing world of sculptures surprised me..i am sure there would be many more around the world ..

    Keep going and write more frequently!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I live near Philadelphia, where there is a Rodin Museum. A cast of The Thinker sits near the front entrance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so lucky to be able to see that iconic statue in person. that’s so cool omg

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favorite Rodin sculpture is The Burghers Of Calais, which is also on the grounds. It’s a great work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just looked at the pictures and i am in total awe. thats so wonderfully made!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jst Amazing to learn how the idea of building some of these sculptures emerged..
    I would love to get an insight into some of the famous paints from Van Gogh, Da Vinci and likes..
    Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rohini kapoor says:

      Amazing Sculptures.n wonderful information shared. Keep going.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thankyou so much!

        Like

    2. yes exactly!
      that should make a very fun article indeed.
      thankyou very much!

      Like

  5. Your images are gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

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