When we go sightseeing on holiday, we often find statues fascinating because they are a piece of history on display to us that we can see without ever having to enter a museum. It can be a free way to see a piece of art by a famous sculptor or just an interesting subject. We can admire them from a distance, photograph them that way or close up, and then decide just what their purpose was. Fortunately, there will usually be a plaque on them to say. Alternatively, they can be so famous that no explanation is needed. It can be an education and broaden the mind to find out just what the statue reveals or represents.
Statue of Liberty, New York
One of the most famous statues in the world is the Statue of Liberty. Standing 93 m high, it began to be constructed in September of 1875, to be finished in 1886. So, it was some feat, as you can imagine. The statue is made of copper, gold, cast iron, and steel. Its architects were Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Richard Morris Hunt.
We can reveal that the statue represents a Roman Goddess, with its face representing the mother of its artist, and the spikes of its crown representing the oceans and continents. It has quite a hard time because it is so high standing that it is hit by lightning some 600 times a year. Gustave Eiffel helped build it, perhaps explaining its height.
So, if you want to get closer to this colossal neoclassical sculpture, famous the world over, that you only normally see on the news when clips of America are shown, you need to head to Liberty Island in New York Harbour, which is within New York City.
Little Mermaid, Denmark
This bronze statue can be found located on a rock by Langelinie Promenade’s waterfront in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was designed and created by Edvard Eriksen in 1913 and is on a list of the most famous statues in the world to see. It is 1.25 m in height and depicts a mermaid becoming human.
The statue commemorates Hans Christian Anderson’s 1836 tale featuring a mermaid who would give up everything for her prince. Except that it was for hopeless love. The mermaid wanted to leave her sea life and was prepared to do anything to be human. The story was adapted into a tale by Disney, who changed the ending of the story.
Eriksen, the sculptor, would base the statue partly on a ballerina, who refused to pose intimately for the top portion of the sculpture, which would end up being of his wife, Ellen Price.
Now for the reveal – the original statue can be found in a museum, due to the vandalism it would receive, and the one at the harbor location is only a copy of it. This is not the only copy, either, because there are copies in California, Monaco, Romania, South Korea, and Spain.
Lady Godiva Statue, England
Standing proudly, and rather revealingly in the central square, Broadgate, Coventry, England, is an unclothed statue of Lady Godiva on her horse that was sculpted by William Reid-Dick. It is one of only a few statues of horses outside of London to be listed. It has a Grade II listing.
Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon gentlewoman who famously road without any clothes on through Coventry, after her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, demanded an oppressive tax from its citizens. It was by way of a protest that she did it.
The bronze statue, completed in 1949, is symbolic of regenerated Coventry, after the bombing it sustained during World War II. The statue was donated to boost morale while the building work took place.
So, some revealing facts, and indeed some revealing statues, that grace three parts of the world and bring in tourists. Many people will photograph themselves against statues, not always thinking twice about what they represent. There is no doubt that the bravery and self-sacrifice behind the Godiva statue receive the admiration of the world.