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7 Surprising Sculpture Facts

  1. The famous Michelangelo statue of David is actually cross-eyed. This statue is one of the most recognizable in the world but is far from perfect. Michelangelo carved it from a spoilt piece of marble and it has been discovered in modern times that the statue is cross-eyed, an intentional tactic by the sculptor so that no matter where a viewer stands, the profile of David would be perfect.
  2. There are several statues that are made into fountains to look like the statue is urinating. The most famous is probably Belgium’s famous Manneken Pis which depicts a naked boy. He was joined by a squatting girl in the name of gender equality in the 1980s, called Jeanneke-Pis. Other statues on this theme include Nation for Itself Forever and the simply named Peeing Guys, both by D. Cerny in the Czech Republic.
  3. An artist once accepted a cash award for Worst Sculpture to avoid the money being burned. The K Foundation gave this prize in 1994 to Rachel Whiteread for her sculpture titled “Horse”. She stated that she would give the prize money to artists in need. Despite this insult by the K Foundation, Whiteread won the Turner prize the same year for her work.
  4. One type of sculpture has been made since ancient times, proving that the human psyche is connected. The oldest depiction, even as far back as ancient Egypt, shows Lady Justice and the scales of justice. In Egypt, she was called the goddess Maat and she is shown weighing human souls who are going to the afterlife. The motif continues until this day, in the most popular form as justice blindfolded and with scales in her hands. The blindfold represents impartiality. The scales, though, are the most enduring motif in the depictions of justice.
  5. There’s a festival in Valencia in Spain where sculptures are made and then actually burned. The Las Fallas de Valencia festival is a week-long festival where sculptures are shown and paraded through the town before they are burned on the festival’s last day, called “La Crema” or “The Burning”. This is supposed to signal the arrival of spring. It was originally started when artisans burned their candles after they no longer needed them as the days grew brighter.
  6. The tallest statue in the world is 600 feet tall. It’s an Indian statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a local hero. Before it was completed, China’s Spring Temple Buddha was the tallest statue in the world at about the height of a 30-story building. It’s 420 feet high on a 66-foot pedestal, making it 502 feet in total.
  7. There’s a statue in Australia that’s upside down. It’s the Charles La Trobe statue in Melbourne. A passerby would probably have to look twice at this famous statue, meant to honor the state of Victoria’s first lieutenant governor. The striking landmark was made by local sculptor Charles Robb. In his view, it embodies the notion that universities should turn ideas on their heads.