When it comes to the wonderful sculptures the world and its cities have to offer, we can all agree that most are, well, kind of forgettable. No disrespect to the artists, but more often than not, the sculptures we see are usually of some old dude, some old horse, or some little creature with an arrow. Let’s just say that they fail to make an impression on us.
But then again, every once in a while, you stumble upon a statue like no other you’ve ever seen, made by someone who clearly has a creative – sometimes humorous – point of view. That’s what this list is filled with – the clever, the funny, the heart-gripping, and jaw-dropping sculptures. Because it’s not like you’re going to travel around the world to find them. So, you can enjoy them from wherever you are right now.
It wasn’t just Freud who said that most issues we have can relate to our childhood. When the psychotherapist wasn’t experimenting with a certain illegal substance, he was writing down some pretty legitimate thoughts on the way people act, think and feel.
Anyway, many of us will behave like children from time to time. It doesn’t matter how mature we think we are, sometimes we need to listen to that inner child within all of us. That’s what’s so special about this sculpture. It’s a piece done by Alexander Milov. He named it “Love” as it reveals the inner children trapped inside two adult bodies. And it’s those inner children that are trying to do all the talking.
Yes, we all have a little kid inside all of us, but we also have something quite the opposite. We all have that superpower that, at different times and under certain circumstances, comes out of us. I’m speaking figuratively, of course, but this sculpture took it to a more literal level. This electrifying sculpture was done by Paige Bradley from New York.
It looks like she made a sculpture of a superhero that uses electricity as her superpower. The cracks in her body can be thought to portray those time when we have to endure hardships in order to let the light within you get out. Well done, Bradley, well done.
This giant 16th-century sculpture is called the Colosso dell’Appennino (Giant of the Apennines) and sits in Florence, Italy. It was made by Italian sculptor Giambologna. This 35-foot tall mountain god actually has several rooms inside of it. We recommend that you go to visit this mountain god when you get a chance.
This Renaissance monument was carved out of rock in 1579. It sits in front of a big pond in the former Medici estate. Giambologna (born Jean Boulogne) was from Northern Europe who moved to Italy in 1550. The sculptor has other works that are presented today in different spots in the city of Florence, such as the Bargello Museum.
How many times have you seen a gigantic fairy made of wire? This dramatic sculpture of a fair dancing with dandelion is breathtaking, and it was made by UK-based sculptor Robin Wight. If this doesn’t make you believe in fairy tales, what will?
Wight created dramatic scenes of wind-blown fairies, also clinging to trees or suspended in midair. And all of them are densely wrapped forms of stainless steel wire. The artist had several pieces on view at the Trentham Gardens. He also sells DIY wire sculpting kits from his website for those who want to attempt the feat on their own.
It looks like in the battle of Superman vs. McDonald, the old clown wins this time. If you thought Superman’s weakness was kryptonite, then you were mistaken. It looks like Superman’s weakness is a clown on a unicycle. I’m not sure if it’s actually Ronald McDonald, but it sure looks like him!
I think Superman has another weakness – hamburgers. It’s not just the clown on the bike that’s got Superman; it’s the burgers the clown represents. He just can’t stand the force of the Big Mac. It’s just. Too. Powerful.
This beauty of a sculpture is called The Force of Nature by Lorenzo Quinn. His piece shows how Mother Nature is rotating. After witnessing the hurricanes in Thailand, the Southern US, and around the world and the destruction brought on by them, Quinn began creating sculptures titled Force of Nature.
Made from bronze, stainless steel, and aluminum, the series is full of life and energy. The powerful and furious image of Mother Nature is meant to remind us of the power of what Quinn describes as our “false sense of security.”
These 6-foot tall bronze and glass sculptures are a part of a series called Rain by Nazar Bilyk, a sculptor from Ukraine. Bilyk created this stunning it using bronze and glass, making it look like a huge raindrop sits on the figure’s face as he looks up toward the sky.
The work has more than one meaning, including representing our delicate relationship with nature. As Bilyk explains: “The name of the work is ‘Rain,’ which seems clear and obvious at first glance. However, it is quite broad and has several meanings. Chiefly, it is dedicated to the inner dialogue of a man with himself; it expresses interrogation of a man in search of senses, unanswered lifetime questions. That’s why the man is holding his head up.”
For some people who have a fear of birds (and it’s not that uncommon), a sculpture like this can be a real-life nightmare. Massive mutant pigeons are easily the subject of the next generation of horror films. Just think of the premise, which would involve running from pigeons who ate too much bread and are ready to poop on you all.
Whoever thought a giant pigeon was a good idea underestimated the very real fear of birds. This terrifying pigeon and its pecking head are in the perfect position for the guy to either lose his lunch or his face. Let’s hope he doesn’t have a pack of bread on him.
These horse sculptures are called Mustangs by Robert Glen, an American artist. The breathtakingly realistic bronze sculptures are of nine wild mustangs trotting across a granite stream. Tourists from all over the world come to view these larger-than-life depictions.
They serve as the centerpiece of Williams Square in the Las Colinas Urban Center. Next to the sculpture is the Mustangs of Las Colinas Museum. There, visitors can learn the story of the eight years of work Glen invested in creating the Mustangs. The museum also shows a short film revealing the time and effort that went into designing, molding, and mounting the art.
We don’t know what sort of deal is going on here, but it seems like it’s all going as planned. This young guy seems to have learned the way things work when it comes to fancy restaurants in big cities. It’s always hard to get a table. So, there’s the age-old bribe trick.
We’ve seen the trick in countless TV shows and movies, but have any of you actually tried it in real life? I think this kid is doing the right thing – he’s practicing on a lifeless statue before attempting to do it in a real restaurant with real people. Let’s hope he uses real bills.
This is The Caring Hand in Switzerland, a piece of public art with a message that resonates for many – to treasure the trees and other green growing things. As you can see from the photo of the large hand sculpture, it has been allowed to become part of nature
It’s developed its own moss, just like the tree. It’s also not set apart in a special place, like on a pedestal. It’s one with nature. And the tourists that see it get to enjoy it on their walk in the park as if it was a part of the natural scenery. That’s the beauty of it.
This is the Black Ghost sculpture found in Klaipeda, Lithuania. It looks a lot like one of the dementors from Happy Potter. It also looks like Ringwraith from the Lord of The Rings. But it’s actually neither of those. The bronze sculpture, known as “Juodasis Vaiduoklis” (or “The Black Ghost”), has been terrifying children since 2010.
It was sculpted by artists Svajunas Jurkus and Sergejus Plotnikovas, who made the figure 7.8 feet in height. Half of it is below the level of the waterfront walkway. Apart from its hands, the hooded robe is empty, creating a spectral appearance despite the lack of having any facial features.
Isn’t cupid supposed to be one of those man-babies that is full of love? That’s why they have their arrows that they shoot heart and love at people. Right? Well, this cupid doesn’t seem to be like the others. The fear in this guy’s eyes is real.
In all seriousness, the cupid is known in classical mythology as the god of desire and love. The cupid was adapted by the Romans from the Greek god Eros. Cupid has the ability to make individuals fall in love (or run away in disgust) with his enchanted arrows.
Romania is full of breathtaking nature as the landscape has all kinds of things like snow-capped mountains and sandy Black Sea beaches. But nature isn’t the only thing that brings visitors to the country. If you go to places like Onesti, don’t forget to take a selfie with this sculpture that’s been called Mihai Eminescu.
This just goes to show that there are many ways to make a sculpture. Just look at the Monument to Mihai Eminescu, which is located in Onesti, Romania. Eminescu was a Romanian poet, if you’re wondering who this guy even is.
This might just be the cutest sculpture on this list. I mean, how do you not see a toddler try to help the last rabbit up onto the landing without going “Awww.” I’m not sure what the story is behind this sculpture of rabbits helping one another, but it clearly made this toddler want to help out too.
It’s amazing to see how naturally innocent and sweet little kids can be. I doubt his parents or grandparents (or whoever he was with) told him to go help the rabbit. I’d like to bet that he went by himself and tried to do it, only to get frustrated by the fact that the rabbit just won’t budge!
This sculpture was made by Jean-Michel Folon, who called it The Rain Man. And no, it has nothing to do with the Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise film. It’s a sculpture that just makes you want to crawl into a bed next to a fireplace, isn’t it?
A Facebook survey asked citizens for their opinions on the relocation of the Rain Man. The Belgian artist’s statue was unfortunately damaged twice in 2015 and in 2017 by drivers at the roundabout in front of the Obihall Theater in Fabrizio de André. It’s been moved to a safer place.
Sculptor Zenos Frudakis came up with this Freedom creation since he said he believes that the struggle to be free isn’t just a personal one but universal to the human condition. This is one of the more inspiring ones on this list.
“I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for the achievement of freedom through the creative process,” said Frudakis.
Fans of Attack on Titan, the Japanese manga series, might get excited after seeing this monstrous thing. This very impressive sculpture is called “Popped Up,” which is located at Széchenyi Square in Budapest, Hungary.
Artist Ervin Loránth Hervé created a giant man crawling out of the earth. The polystyrene creation was one of the highlights of the Art Market Budapest international contemporary art fair in 2014. It can also serve as an idea for parents who want to get uninterrupted sleep on Saturday, but the children just won’t let them have it.
This optical illusion is called Diminish and Ascend by David Mccracken. It sits beautifully in Bondi, Australia, and looks like a never-ending staircase. Diminish and Ascend is an installation that, from certain angles, looks as though it just goes straight into the heavens.
The installation was part of the annual event called Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi, and this staircase was one of the most eye-catching pieces at the exhibition. It invites the mind to wander and imagine a surreal escape. But don’t try this at home, kids – the sculpture is not meant to be climbed!
This was made by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor in Grenada, West Indies. It is called “Vicissitudes” and depicts a powerful message. The large circle of figures is shackled together, and you can see them holding hands. It lies under the water off the coast of Grenada in the Caribbean.
It honors the captive Africans who perished on slave ships during the Middle Passage. The Underwater Sculpture Park is a collection of contemporary art located in the Caribbean Sea created by Taylor. In May 2006, it became the world’s first underwater sculpture park open for public viewing. Taylor wanted to engage local people with the underwater environment.
Kids so adorable, especially when they do things like this. It seems like the train of kids was in the middle of a dance lesson, and the dance teacher said, “Okay, everyone grab the person to your left and start dancing!”
Then again, it could just be that this little girl likes to dance and just grabbed the bronze boy and started moving to the music that was probably playing somewhere in the vicinity. Or not. Toddlers are strange like that.
This is a sculpture that requires its own shadow, which makes it a little different than the others on this list and in general. This shadow street art is in Kaunas, Lithuania, and it’s called “The Sower.” Apparently, the government painted over the stars because it was considered vandalism.
The caption that goes along with the sculpture says: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. Some seed fell on the rock, and when it came up, it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell amongst thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this, he cried, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!”
This sinking library building that was made to “sink” into the ground outside the State Library in Melbourne, Australia, is an iconic feature of the city. It portrays the loss of actual books with actual pages that we can touch. Not to mention the quiet conversations with friends that would occur in libraries.
Like a lost civilization sinking into the pavement, this sculpture is a local favorite in Melbourne. It’s called Architectural Fragment. It was designed in bluestone by Petrus Spronk to be a part of the Swanston Walk Public Art Project.
The Guan Yu Statue is a quite massive monument to the Chinese war god, Guan Yu. It’s located in Jingzhou, China, and was designed by Han Meilin. A recent statue finished in 2016, it stands at 58 meters tall, weighs 1,197 tons, and is made of 4,000 bronze strips.
The project started in 2013 when Meilin visited Jingzhou for inspiration. Guan Yu is seen wearing his traditional robe and cloak, wielding his famous guandao (the Green Dragon Crescent Blade), which weighs 123 tons. The 10-meter pedestal it stands on resembles an ancient Chinese warship.
These hippopotamus sculptures look pretty darn cool, and taking your kids to see them is fun. But don’t let your eldest tell the younger ones that they come alive at night and go on stampedes throughout the city. No, that would just terrify them.
Here’s a fun fact that you can tell the kids that is equally as scary but far more realistic. Did you know that hippos are the most dangerous animals, thanks to their highly aggressive and unpredictable nature? So yeah, them coming alive at night? Not so fun.
Who said museums have to be so boring? People who don’t like museums (like me) can learn a few tricks from these ladies. They know how to take a photo that will get the approval of people on the internet. And isn’t that what it’s all about these days, anyway? (sigh).
The statue has a striking resemblance to Beyoncé’s iconic dance moves, so it’s easy to understand why these ladies struck the pose while others quietly walked around the statue while also side-eyeing them. by the way, the statue is part of a sculptural group called The Three Shades.
This is a brilliant piece of work by Bruno Catalano called “Les Voyageurs.” It stands in Marseilles, France. The eye-catching bronze sculpture depicts a worker with a part of his body missing. Catalano created a series of these bronze sculptures with parts of their bodies missing.
The sculptures were put there to celebrate Marseille’s position as the 2013 European Capital of Culture. The missing parts leave room for the imagination. It begs the question, are they missing something? Or is it something these “voyagers” left behind? It’s impressive to see how these heavy sculptures stand on very little support.
Ocean Atlas is a massive underwater statue of a female that seems to be carrying the ocean’s weight on her shoulders. This statue is made from pH-neutral cement, so that means it actually helps coral to attach itself to it, which in turn creates more coral reefs (which are very, very important for the ocean).
The work depicts a local Bahamian girl in the Ancient Greek myth of Atlas, the Titan who was said to have held up the heavens. It’s five meters tall and weighs over 60 tons. Due to the sheer scale of it, it had to be assembled underwater using a new technique developed and engineered by Jason deCaires Taylor.
The Monument of an Anonymous Passerby is located in Wroclaw, Poland, and portrays all those souls who were lost, imprisoned, or killed by the oppressive Communist regime for so many years. The chilling sculpture depicts a group of 14 people sinking into the ground on Swidnicka Street
But they are reemerging on the other side. The sculpture is called Przejście (“Passage” or “Transition”), also known as the Monument of the Anonymous Passersby. It was created by artist Jerzy Kalina. It’s often interpreted as a memorial to those killed or who went missing during the martial law in Poland in the 1980s.
Remember the old days when cops would literally run after a robber in the streets (you know, the scenes we’ve all seen in the movies). The cop is running after the crook. It seems like a thing of the past now in today’s society. These days, the scene is a little different.
This statue is called “De Vaartkapoen” and stands in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels, Belgium. It looks like the crook is trying to save his partner by tripping the policeman. Belgian artist Tom Frantzen made the humorous statue in 1985.
“People of The River” is in Singapore and is widely known as one of the most creative statues on the globe. When asked, designer Chang Fah Cheong said, “My involvement in creative work pursuits, in particular, sculpture, is a state of mind. It is consciousness, an acute awareness of my existence, made up of limitless variables and possibilities.”
Those who stroll by the Singapore River, particularly Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, which were important centers in the history of Singapore’s trade, can get a glimpse of this remarkable piece, which only helps enrich the country’s history.
Nelson Mandela’s sculpture in South Africa pays tribute to a man who had a great, brave heart. It was made by Marco Cianfanelli outside of Howick, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It’s where the police captured Mandela and where his “Long Walk to Freedom” began.
The national monument marks the capture site. South African artist Marco Cianfanelli constructed it to recognize the 50 year anniversary of the peace activist and politician who was captured by the apartheid police in 1962. It spans 50 steel columns of 21.32 and 29.52 feet high, anchored to the concrete-covered ground.
These horse heads represent the world of equine history. They are called Kelpies, mythical shape-shifting creatures that are horse-shaped. They are said to lure people onto their backs and dive into a deep lake to drown them.
These Kelpies are 30 meters high, and one head weighs 300 tons alone. Sculptor Andy Scott designed them back in 2013. Scott is well known for the iconic sculptures in Scotland, at the Forth & Clyde Canal in Falkirk. The two steel heads are the largest equine sculptures in the world, actually.
Does anyone else think of Elmer Fudd’s knotted gun – the one he used to hunt Bugs Bunny? No? what about Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Still no? Anyways, this is a statue advocating for non-violence, which isn’t so hard to tell by looking at it.
There are 16 copies of this sculpture around the world at this point. “Non Violence” (also called “The Knotted Gun”) was made by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. It sits next to the United Nations in New York. It has come to represent hope for a nonviolent future and has been cited as one of the inspirations behind the “arms-to-art” movement.
This funny-looking salmon sculpture is unsurprisingly in Portland, Oregon, one of the quirkier cities in America. The brickwork seems a bit too nice for the effect it is trying to achieve, right? Maybe a big salmon really did fly out of the ocean and crash through a building. No?
This whimsical statue depicts a salmon swimming through the corner of a building, which happens to represent the lighthearted, eccentric city of Portland itself. It was cleverly constructed by Oregonian sculptor Keith Jellum. The hand-forged bronze salmon measures 11 feet in length.
These Jaume Plensa Sculptures are sitting in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. A very opinionated piece, these show how humans should be protecting the trees, but it is not how we live. Still, the artist has hope, and one is allowed to be optimistic about the future, is one not?
Of course, with the world we live in today, our natural resources are dwindling every year. You may live in a forested area, but most of the world is losing its greenery. Just watch an episode of Planet Earth if you want to feel particularly depressed.
This “Man Hanging Out” sculpture in Prague, Czech Republic, gives a whole new meaning to hanging out. At first glance, it may seem like this is a real person, but it’s not. In fact, it is actually a portrayal of someone real. Have you ever heard of Sigmund Freud?
The sculpture was created in 1996, known as “Zavěšený muž” (“Man Hanging Out”) by Czech sculptor David Černý, whose work can be found all across Prague. Many of his pieces are seen as deliberately provocative. The dangling Freud is lifelike at a distance, and many people have taken it for a real person in danger. But it’s just a sculptural statement about intellectualism in the 20th century and Černý’s uncertainty about it.
This is one of those artworks that makes you stop and take a closer look, all while putting a smile on your face. It’s called “A Day Out,” and it can be found in Adelaide, Australia. It’s one of those sculptures that little kids can get a kick out of.
The art is placed in Rundle Mall, where pigs hogging the pedestrian walkway isn’t something you would expect to see. But Marguerite Derricourt’s sculpture has provided joy ever since it was installed in 1999. After winning a competition sponsored by the Adelaide City Council, the pigs named Horatio, Truffles, Augusta, and Oliver have been a local favorite.
“The Rising Tide” was created by Jason DeCaires Taylor. He sculpted four horsemen and placed them in the Thames River in Central London to warn the world about climate change. It includes a series of working horses with riders on the banks of the river, positioned within sight of the Houses of Parliament.
It was part of the 2015 Totally Thames festival, celebrating the River Thames. The tidal works are partly based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, revealed and concealed by the daily ebb and flow of the river.
The Pioneer Plaza was dedicated to the City of Dallas in 1995, providing a historical focal point in downtown Dallas. The Plaza commemorates the city’s beginnings by celebrating the trails that brought settlers there.
With native plants and trees and a stream in a natural setting, there is also a re-creation of a cattle drive made in bronze being driven by three cowboys on horses. Each piece was created by artist Robert Summers of Glen Rose, Texas. The Plaza is the largest public open space in the central business district.
If you’re scared of spiders, then you can go ahead and look the other way, or just continue scrolling. Much of the work of the artist Louise Bourgeois brings the concepts of jealousy, anger, fear, and her own childhood to the public eye.
Her sculpture here is called Maman, which is located in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The 30-foot-tall structure of this spider-like creature shows the strength and fragility she associates with maternity. The spider is powerful and tall while managing to balance on slender legs, and thus is extremely vulnerable.
This funny thing is part of a film series called Sharknado, which is about giant super tornadoes forming in the Pacific Ocean and suck up a mass of sharks and carry them to land. There, they cause total chaos. It is clearly a crazy series.
The shark first appeared in 1986, after having been commissioned by the homeowner Bill Heine, a local radio presenter. The sculpture weighs four long hundredweight (200 kg) and is 25 feet long. It’s made of fiberglass and was named Untitled (written on the gate of the house). It reportedly took three months to build.
This is called the “Unknown Bureaucrat” and was created in 1994 by Iceland sculptor Magnus Thomasson. It is of a man from the elbows down in a crumpled suit with his left hand in his pants pocket and his right hand holding a briefcase. From the elbows up, there’s a large unfinished slab of stone.
A plaque at the man’s feet reads: “Several countries have monuments to the Unknown Soldier, but perhaps only Iceland has a sculpture honoring — and lightly satirizing — the thankless, anonymous job of the bureaucrat. The 1994 sculpture by Magnús Tómasson depicts a man in a suit holding a briefcase, with his head and shoulders subsumed in a slab of unsculpted stone.”
At first, it looks like some sort of villain from a sci-fi movie. In reality, it’s a lot more wonderful. It is called “Metalmorphosis” by David Cherny, and it stands tall at the Whitehall Technology Park, Charlotte, North Carolina. At seven meters and 13 tons, the thing is huge.
The sculpture sits in a large reflecting pool. It was made with polished stainless steel, with 40 layers articulated into seven pieces that rotate individually. The sculpture spouts water from the head’s mouth. There’s another, larger work, called the Head of Franz Kafka in Prague.
The sculpture in Bratislava, Slovakia, is called “Man At Work.” The figure is apparently at work and looks to be smiling, which isn’t the most common type of depiction we’re used to seeing. Who knows – maybe it’s Friday, and he’s looking forward to the weekend.
It was originally called “Cumil,” which in English means something like “Watcher.” The bronze statue sits in front of the corner of Rybarska Brana (“Fishermen’s gate”) and is quite popular among citizens and visitors of Bratislava. It was made by artist and painter Viktor Hulik, who was asked in 1997 to create an interesting sculpture to relieve the reconstructed Korzo (old city).
This beauty of a sculpture is called Mother Nature, and she was crafted completely from plants. The impressive sculpture and water feature sits as is in Atlanta’s Botanical Gardens. It looks like she’s risen straight up from the earth.
If you go to visit her, you might hear a few shouts of “Moana!” from other people. And that’s because the large sculpture looks like the character Te Fiti, making her one of the most popular attractions in the park.
The next photo is the largest sculpture of an item that would typically be on your wall…
Considering that Dubai is the home of the tallest skyscraper, the largest shopping mall, and the longest driverless metro system, it’s really not surprising that it also boasts the world’s largest picture frame. The frame was erected in 2018 and stands very, very tall.
The frame is impressive as it is controversial, standing at 50 stories. The Dubai Frame made headlines when the architect and the Municipality of Dubai were in a legal battle over ownership of the copyright of the building. Eventually, it was titled the “biggest stolen building of all time.”
If you thought the giant pigeon sculpture was scary, this one is way bigger. But it’s not as scary. As the Hindu myth goes, Jatayu was a noble bird who sadly lost her wing when grabbing the goddess Sita from demon-king Ravana and flying her away.
The vulture king tried to protect Sita and chopped off one of Jatayu’s wings, after which he fell on a rock. With time, the rock earned the name Jatayupara, becoming the site where the monumental statue and record-breaking bird sculpture now sits.
As if it’s waving to all those that choose to visit, this hand emerges from the ground in the middle of the Atacama Desert. There are four concrete fingers and a thumb, and locals consider it as a hi-5 from the land.
The hand was built over 25 years ago by the artist Mario Irarrázabal who meant for the isolated sculpture to represent vulnerability and helplessness on behalf of humans. Those are basically the two feelings anyone feels when they run out of gas in the middle of the desert.