You know the statues, but do you know much about them? Usually, we just take a statue for face value – as a piece of art. That’s just as true for the famous statues on this list. Let’s jump right into it. Here are five things (and more) that you didn’t know about famous statues.
The Lincoln Memorial
The statue honoring President Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial was unveiled in 1922, when the memorial was completed. The building itself was constructed from 1914 to 1922. The statue, made by Daniel Chester French, weighs 170 tons and is composed of 28 blocks of white Georgia marble. Urban legend has it that the artist sculpted Lincoln’s hands to form the “A” and “L” in American Sign Language, a nod to his legislation creating a university for the deaf.
Venus de Milo
The famed Venus de Milo ancient Greek statue, housed at the Louvre in Paris, is also made of marble, but crafted sometime between 130 and 100 BCE. It is believed to depict Aphrodite and named after the Greek island of Milos, where it was found. The statue’s arms are missing, for unknown reasons. The mystery shrouding the statue is part of its fame and charm, symbolizing all of ancient Greece.
The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid is a fascinating icon of Copenhagen, Denmark, unveiled in 1913 and a major attraction there ever since. What might be most striking is the statue’s history with vandalism. It’s been damaged many times and is often in need of restoration. In 1964, the head was sawed off and stolen by political activists. It was never recovered and a new one was made to replace it. In 1984, the arm was cut off but returned two days after it was stolen. There was a failed attempt in 1990 to cut off the head, leaving a gash in the statue. Continuing the awful history: another decapitation in 1998 (the head, this time, was returned anonymously). It was also knocked off its base in 2003 by explosives. Paint and other vandalism have occurred numerous times over the years. Rough history.
Christ the Redeemer
Located on Corcovado, a mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue overlooks the city. It was created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and French engineer Albert Caquot. It weighs 635 metric tons and is a symbol of Christianity throughout the world. So impressive, that you may not know it was listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, along with Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra, the Taj Mahal, and Colosseum.
Statue of Liberty
Quite arguably the most famous statue in the world, it was a gift from France given to the United States in 1886 that still welcomes travelers into New York Harbor, holding a torch and tablet with July 4, 1776 inscribed on it – the date of the country’s independence. The seven spikes on the Statue of Liberty’s crown represent the seven continents of the world, indicating the universal concept of liberty. Formerly placed on New York’s Bedloe Island, it’s now called Liberty Island. But the main thing you didn’t know about the Statue of Liberty is her full name: Liberty Enlightening the World (or, in French, La Liberte eclairant le monde).