10 of the world’s most iconic sculptors

Sculpture is an art form that originated in the primitive era and actively developed throughout the history of mankind. Many masterpieces that have become iconic have such ancient origins that their authorship cannot be established. Examples include the Chinese “Terracotta Army” (dated to the 3rd century BC, but accidentally discovered only in 1974) and two beautiful inhabitants of the Louvre Nike of Samothrace and Venus de Milo. But there are no less famous sculptures, the authors of which are well known to us. We will tell you about them.

Michelangelo.
Michelangelo.

Michelangelo and Donatello – world’s most iconic sculptors

The first two names that open our list of the 10 most iconic sculptors in the world are well known to all art lovers. We are talking about the outstanding masters of the Renaissance Donatello and Michelangelo. Both were very productive and created many masterpieces, but their most famous works were perhaps the statues of David. Donatello’s sculpture is much older, dating back to 1430-1440.

Donatello.
Donatello.

Well, Michelangelo, who completed his David at the very beginning of the 16th century, managed to create one of the most copied works of art. Only in Florence, where the original is located, two “doubles” were also installed.

A copy is also widely known, which is located on the embankment in Copenhagen. It was donated to the city by brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1896.

Donatello. David.
Donatello. David. World’s most iconic sculptors.

Antonio Canova

The great artists of the Renaissance were inspired by ancient masterpieces. This love was passed on to subsequent generations of sculptors, who took idealized images of nudes as a basis. Antonio Canova is an Italian master who became one of the most prominent representatives of classicism in sculpture.

Antonio Canova. Theseus and the Minotaur.
Antonio Canova. Theseus and the Minotaur.

During his lifetime he had incredible authority. Despite the fact that critics accused him of lacking “artistry, ” the public awarded Antonio Canova the title of “Supreme Minister of Beauty.” Among his works one can highlight “Theseus and the Minotaur”, “Cupid and Psyche”, “Pauline Borghese”.

Frederic Bartholdi

Sometimes it happens that a sculpture becomes much more famous than its author. A similar story happened with Frederic Bartholdi, who should rightfully take a place on our list. After all, he is the creator of one of the symbols of the United States of America the legendary Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty, Frederic Bartholdi.
Statue of Liberty, Frederic Bartholdi. World’s most iconic sculptors/

Made of copper, the monument depicts the ancient Roman goddess Libertas.

Auguste Rodin

“The Thinker” is without any doubt the most famous of all the sculptures in the work of Auguste Rodin. It represents a seated man in a state of contemplation, with his head resting on his hand. A naked man sits on top of a rock and is believed by many to represent an allegory of philosophy.

Auguste Rodin. Thinker.
Auguste Rodin. Thinker.

Although the sculpture was part of a huge commission from the 1880s, the first version of the statue was not ready until the very beginning of the 20th century. The original sculpture can be found in the Rodin Museum in Paris, the artist’s former mansion, also known as the Hotel Byron.

world's most iconic sculptors Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin

Stepan Erzya

Obeying logic, we should now talk about the great sculptor, whom the press dubbed “Russian Rodin” Stepan Erzya. He went down in history not only thanks to his artistic talent, but also because he worked with an unusual material kebracho. Having spent most of his creative life in Argentina, the master fell in love with this stubborn tree, whose name literally translates as “break the axe.”

world's most iconic sculptors Stepan Erzya. Moses.
Stepan Erzya. Moses.

Erzya is also famous for its large-scale projects to transform mountains into monuments. But he failed to implement them.

world's most iconic sculptors Umberto Boccioni. Unique forms of continuity in space.
Umberto Boccioni. Unique forms of continuity in space.
Umberto Boccioni

The work of the Italian painter Umberto Boccioni, sculptor and one of the largest theorists of futurism is probably known only to art connoisseurs. However, his work with the difficult title “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” became a real hit. She is even depicted on the obverse of the Italian 20 cent coin.

world's most iconic sculptors Constantin Brancusi. Princess.
Constantin Brancusi. Princess.
Constantin Brancusi

When compiling a list of the 10 most iconic sculptors in the world, we simply cannot ignore a figure like Constantin Brancusi. A legendary representative of avant-garde art, the founder of the style of abstract sculpture, this French master of Romanian origin was a real “star” of his time. One of his most famous and scandalous works is “Portrait of Princess Bibesco” a sculpture that the French Ministry of Culture arrested several times “for immorality.”

By the way, Brancusi worked as Rodin’s assistant for some time, but left him, saying that “nothing grows under a big tree.”

world's most iconic sculptors Ernst Neizvestny. Orpheus.
Ernst Neizvestny. Orpheus.
Ernst Neizvestny

A cult figure in the history of Soviet art is undoubtedly Ernst Neizvestny, a representative of “degenerate art, ” as Nikita Khrushchev called him. Such an assessment greatly complicated the life and work of the master. However, after Khrushchev’s death, Neizvestny generously agreed to fulfill the request of his relatives and create a tombstone for the politician.

The most famous works of the sculptor are “Orpheus” (1962), the monumental composition “Prometheus and the Children of the World” (1966), created in Artek, “Mask of Sorrow” (1996) a 30-meter memorial to the victims of political repression.

world's most iconic sculptors Alberto Giacometti. Walking man.
Alberto Giacometti. Walking man.
Alberto Giacometti

Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti completes our list. His sculpture Walking Man I, created in 1961, was sold at Sotheby’s for a record £65 million. It is considered one of the most important works of the master.

Of course, we have compiled only a tentative list of the 10 most iconic sculptors in the world. There are tons of legendary works out there, and each of them has an author who deserves a place on our list.

world's most iconic sculptors STEPAN ERZYA. STATUE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. CAST OF AUGUSTO GIUFREDI AND SIMONE VIZZONI. 2011.
STEPAN ERZYA. STATUE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. CAST OF AUGUSTO GIUFREDI AND SIMONE VIZZONI. 2011.
world's most iconic sculptors STEPAN ERZYA. PORTRAIT OF VASILY'S NEPHEW. CAST OF ALEXANDER TOLOKIN. 2010.
STEPAN ERZYA. PORTRAIT OF VASILY’S NEPHEW. CAST OF ALEXANDER TOLOKIN. 2010.

 

world's most iconic sculptors Donatello. David.
Donatello. David.
world's most iconic sculptors Antonio Canova. Tombstone of Clement XIV, 1787
Antonio Canova. Tombstone of Clement XIV, 1787
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