People have been creating masterpieces out of stone for tens of thousands of years and while the first of these pieces may have been crude in comparison, they paved the way for the more refined sculptural art to come.
We take a brief look at some of the world’s most impressive sculptures, some as old as 30,000 years!
Venus of Willendorf
Discovered in Austria in 1908, the Venus of Willendorf is dated 28,000-25,000 BC and measures just 4-inches in height.
As one of the most famous of its kind dating from the Old Stone Age, there has been much debate over what function the Venus served, some saying it ranged from fertility goddess to masturbation aid.
Bust of Nefertiti
Discovered within the ruins of Amarna in 1912, the Bust of Nefertiti is dated 1345 BC and is thought to be the creation of Thutmose, the city of Akhenaten’s court sculptor.
The bust is stucco-coated limestone and is differentiated from the typically highly-stylised character of Ancient Egyptian art by its naturalistic style.
Laocoön and His Sons
Discovered in 1506 in Rome, Laocoön and His Sons is dated 200-101 BCE and was transported to the Vatican after its discovery where it still resides today. Attributed to three Greek sculptors from the Island of Rhodes, the sculpture was originally mounted in the place of Emperor Titus and is based on the myth of a Trojan priest and his sons who were killed by sea serpents sent by Poseidon.
Originally begun in 1464 – long before betting on Aussie sports – by Agostini di Duccio and another unknown artist, the huge slab of marble which would become David stood untouched for 25 years until Michelangelo resumed work on the creation in 1501.
Once completed, David weighed 6 tonnes making it too heavy for its original intended purpose of being hoisted onto the roof of the Duomo cathedral and was instead placed at the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio and later moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873.
Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais
Though more well-known for The Thinker, Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais is in fact a more historically significant piece.
The sculpture was commissioned for a park in Calais and tells the story of 6 town elders who offered themselves up for execution in order to spare the population during the Hundred Years’ War between Britain and France.
Spider exists in many versions of varying size and proportions and was created in the mid-1990s when Louise Bourgeois was already in her 80s.
Meant as a tribute to her mother who was a tapestry restorer, Spider was created owing to the creature’s ability to spin webs.
Harrison’s Alexander the Great
Much of Rachel Harrison’s works are created by stacking Styrofoam blocks or stabs, covering them in cement, and then painting them. Alexander the Great is no exception.
Seen wearing a cape and an upturned Abraham Lincoln mask, the great explorer is transformed into a juxtaposition of masculine prerogative and feminine form.