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The Best Sculptures Of All Time

Updated December 18, 2020 12.0k votes 1.3k voters 37.0k views100 items

List RulesVote up the best sculptures from the medium's history

There have been so many sculptures of such a wide range of subjects and in so many materials and styles across history that it can be difficult to narrow a selection to the best sculptures ever. This list of the best sculptures in history includes Renaissance statues, Baroque sculpture, and even work by abstract sculpture artists.

Even though some of the sculptures on this list may be from famous artists who have names that are familiar, like Gian Lorenzo Bernini or Auguste Rodin, you may also find some classic sculptures you recognize from artists whose names you didn't know, like Antonio Corradini. There are even famous sculptures that may be new to you, like Fernando Botero's Bird and the Surrealist sculptures from Alberto Giacometti. From the haunting realism of sculptors like Michelangelo to the deceptively simple planes of Pablo Picasso's sculptures, these famous art pieces are of the very best by the greatest sculptors of all time.

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  • Photo: Stanislav Traykov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5
    The Pietà is a world-famous work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. The statue was commissioned for the French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, who was a representative in Rome. The sculpture, in Carrara marble, was made for the cardinal's funeral monument, but was moved to its current location, the first chapel on the right as one enters the basilica, in the 18th century. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. The theme is of Northern origin, popular by...  more
    • Artist: Michelangelo
    • Subject: Pietà, Lamentation of Christ, Blessed Virgin Mary
    • Genres (Art): Christian art
    • Period / Movement: Italian Renaissance, Renaissance
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  • David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet Michelangelo. It is a 4.34-metre, 5.17-metre with the base marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was placed instead in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to...  more
    • Artist: Michelangelo
    • Subject: David
    • Period / Movement: Italian Renaissance, Renaissance
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    Dama Velata (Puritas)

    Photo: Antonio Corradini / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
    • Artist: Sculpture
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  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    The statue of Laocoön and His Sons, also called the Laocoön Group, has been one of the most famous ancient sculptures ever since it was excavated in Rome in 1506 and placed on public display in the Vatican, where it remains. Exceptionally, it is very likely to be the same object as a statue praised in the highest terms by the main Roman writer on art, Pliny the Elder. The figures are near life-size and the group is a little over 2 m in height, showing the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents. The group has been "the prototypical icon of human agony" in Western art, and unlike the agony often depicted in Christian art showing the...  more
    • Artist: Athenodoros of Rhodes, Polydorus of Rhodes, Agesander of Rhodes
    • Subject: Laocoön, Sea serpent
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