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Some of My Favorite Works of Art: Statues, Reliefs, Sculptures, Models, and Other 3-D Art

  • Feb 9, 2010
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As a companion-piece to my five lists comprising of two-dimensional artwork, I have compiled this list of three-dimensional artwork. Unfortunately, this list is much, much shorter in comparison. I apologize. As has been the case with my previous lists, this one focuses primarily on the human figure, as well as on mythological characters. 
Please, not that this list is no particular order except for the top 5, which are in preferential order.
Queen of the Night (a.k.a. The Burney Relief)
Naturally, this comes in at the top spot purely because I love archetypal female goddess figures. This is perhaps the most classical image of Lilith, however, it should be understood that while this was originally identified as Lilith based on the iconography, it is quite likely a depiction of the goddess Ishtar or possibly Ereshkigal.
As for the appeal of the work. I love the texture of the terracotta and the proportions of the female form. Stylistically, I'm also attracted to this era.
Psyche Revived by Love's Kiss
Quite likely the most beautiful and erotic sculpture I've ever seen. One of Canova's great masterpieces. Subtle, sensual, and beautifully done. The lines are so fine and the over all texture of the skin is very smooth. Gorgeous.
Ecstasy of St. Theresa
Bernini's most impressive work, in my opinion. This one combines elements of sacred Christian imagery with imagery of a subtle and somewhat erotic nature. The very title of the work could be interpreted in a number of ways, but the look on St. Theresa's face and her arched back and outstretched arms make it clear that she is experiencing a sensual, as well as spiritual, reverie.
The Thinker
Simple and poignant. Although, I don't care for bronze works as much as marble because I prefer the smoother and more life-like texture, this statue has always been of great fascination to me. At once it recalls images of the classical Greek philosophers, but also reminds us of the poets and artists of the Renaissance, yet this is a modern piece in comparison. Still, it's timeless as far as I'm concerned.
Venus de Milo
Perhaps one of the most iconic sculptures that appear on this list and certainly one of my favorites. I love the damage that time has done to this piece, as it gives an even more timely and mysterious nature.
Artemision Bronze
Whether this is Zeus or Poseidon, no one can say for sure, but this ancient Greek bronze sculpture is one of the most memorable images of classical Greece for me. I've always been taken with Greek and Roman myths and whenever I think of Zeus, King of the Gods, hurling thunderbolts from Mount Olympus I picture this sculpture.
This is Michelangelo's greatest work, in terms of sculpture, for me. The look of loving despair on Mary's face and the posture of the dead Christ in her arms is heartbreaking. Another astonishing example of a very realistic simulation of fabric. 
Bernini's David
Not as well-known as the other sculptures of David, but my personal favorite on account of the realism. I love how dynamic the posing is as well.
Pure and simple beauty. The face is delicate and melancholy and the simulation of fabric is quite realistic too.
Of the many equestrian sculptures and statues, this remains the most impressive and exciting. I also really love how realistic the rider is posed. For some reason, I always think of Cervantes' Don Quixote when I see this statue.
The Terracotta Army
Although each individual figure in the Terracotta Army is different and some aren't as well-made as others, these sculptures are still an awesome example of Chinese artwork. Not only are you immediately impressed with the quality of the sculptures and the artistic skill that would have been required to create them, but you're also stunned by the sheer multitude of them. Purely awesome.
David (Michelangelo sculpture)
Quite likely the most famous sculpture in the world, Michelangelo's David is a rather remarkable work, simply as a study in human anatomy. The musculature and the facial features are all somewhat idealized, but over all the figure is very life-like. I don't care for the hair though.
In many ways, I prefer this bronze sculpture of David by Donatello over Michelangelo's, in part because of the more dynamic pose and the more realistic figure, but also because I like the facial expression and the hair more. However, a certain component of this work is hard not to laugh at because of its girth (or lack thereof). That's all I'm saying.
The Chimera of Arezzo
Of the many great sculptures and statues of Greek and Roman gods, there are few remaining examples of works devoted to the various monsters from mythology. I love this one of the Chimera, a beast that had the head of a lion, legs of an eagle, and a tail with a serpent's head.
Bust of Nefertiti
A stunning bust, done as a tribute to the Egyptian Queen, who was rumored to be one of the most beautiful women in the entire ancient world.
Donatello's Saint George
One of the quintessential works by Donatello and yet not as high profile as some of his others. This is one of my favorite images of the Saintly Knight who, according to legend, bested the devil in the form of a dragon.
Aztec Calendar Stone (Sun Stone)
Absolutely astonishing. The details here are just amazing and I love the fact that this is both practical as well as artistic.
Perseus with the Head of the Gorgon Medusa
Gruesome and elegant at the same time.

What did you think of this list?

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February 22, 2010
Nice, but I'm not very much into sculpture.
February 22, 2010
Wow, I'm shocked. No reliefs, sculptures, statues, or busts for Queenie?
February 22, 2010
Here's some colorful sculptures!
February 23, 2010
Now you're talking. I might be interest if it were possible to see the Greek and Roman statues in their original painted form...
February 23, 2010
That would require an actual time machine.
February 23, 2010
Well if they found out that there was originally paint on these statues to begin with they could try computer simulations of them so we could see how they handled the faces. That's the part I'm most interested in.
February 23, 2010
Someone has done that sort of thing. One of the pictures of The Burney relief show the orginal color scheme, although the original paint was probably a bit more subtle. Personally, I like the aged look better.
February 23, 2010
It's like the Sistene Chapel. Nobody likes the way it looks after they cleaned it up and saw Michelangelo's real palette
February 23, 2010
Actually, in that case I did. It was sort of a joke at the expense of the church.
I can just picture him laughing madly as he paints it and intoning to himself:
I besmirch thy holy place with garish colors,  nudity, and historical inaccuracy! Ha-ha-ha!
February 23, 2010
I'll have to go back and see if that's the reason you gave on your art list!
February 23, 2010
What, the bit about Michelangelo?
February 23, 2010
Yeah. Because if I recall correctly (and I'm sure I do) you chose the Sistene Chapel as one of your favorite works of art.
February 23, 2010
It is. Partly, because I love the over all style of it and the scale and the quality of the artwork. But secretly, between you and me, I love a lot of those Renaissance artists because they were intentionally making fun of the church right under its nose by placing pagan iconology in their religious art. Hilarious! Now people go about with that little fish on their car as if it's a Christian symbol, despite the fact that it actually pre-dates Christianity and is a symbol of the Egyptian God of Death. LMAO!
February 23, 2010
Almost all of what makes up Christian mythology is drawn from pagan mythology. My daughter lectured me for hours on the subect. The virgin birth, the whole nine yards.l
February 23, 2010
Yeah, I know, but most Christians don't! (laughs giddily) That's what's so damn funny!
February 23, 2010
Tie 'em down if front of the TV and play them Joseph Campbell's Greatest Hits sometime.
February 23, 2010
Hey, we should organize a "recover from religion" group and actually do that. Could help a lot of people who need it.
February 23, 2010
Anyone who would join doesn't really need our help. Unless you're suggesting that we operate it like one of those cult deprograming groups and shove 'em into the back of a van as they leave church.
February 23, 2010
This idea just gets better and better. : )
February 23, 2010
So is that what you had in mind or did I put ideas in your head? =)
February 23, 2010
A little of both. >:-D
February 23, 2010
So do you prefer the real palette or the dirty , pre-cleaned one?
February 23, 2010
If I were to see it in person I might feel differently, but I like the cleaned version more... although it also depends which portion of the ceiling you're referring to. "The Creation of Adam" looked better before. Though, God dressed in pink robes is rather amusing.
February 23, 2010
Weren't the robes added by other artists? I guess that would just have been the Adam and Eve  etc clothing. He certainly wouldn't have a neked God.
February 23, 2010
It's possible. In the case of many of the Renaissance artists, they would design detailed miniatures of their artwork and then have their students do the actual life-size version. This was particularly true with scupltures, though I'm not sure if it was the case with the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
February 23, 2010
No. I mean the Church had them painted on afterwards.
February 23, 2010
I don't know if they did that with all of Michelangelo's works or not. I know that at one point they became so ridiculously prudish that they went around and chiseled the penises off of over two hundred sculptures. Oh, the stupidity!
February 23, 2010
I hadn't heard about the penises. Couldn't they have just made little pants for them? LMFAO
February 23, 2010
Yeah, well, I'm not sure they had boxers back then and it would have been tricky to sew around most of the statues, so it was easier to just chip them off.
February 23, 2010
Skirts then?
February 23, 2010
it would be kinder to emasculate them. LOL! Perhaps a kilt wouldn't be so bad, but it would be odd on an Italian statue. Plus, kilts weren't common until about the 1600s if I remember correctly.
February 23, 2010
Not if it were a nice little skirt like the Romans wore.
February 23, 2010
Yeah, but then curious women might go around lifting them and causing trouble for the church that way. Plus, those little battle skirts were made out of leather and it would have clashed with the bronze and marble. LOL!
February 24, 2010
There's always a problem with you isn't there. =)
February 24, 2010
Hey, I'm just trying to keep things in perspective. If a marble statue was wearing an article of real fabric clothing, people would be tempted to see what was underneath it.
February 24, 2010
Then the Church could just cut off the hands or poke out the eyes of any offender, They shouldn't have a problem with that.
February 27, 2010
Hey, it worked for the Inquisition.
March 01, 2010
Just what I was thinking.
February 11, 2010
Love, love, love this list! I would add Nike, The Awakening at Hains Park, Laocoon....aw man, I think I'll have to do my own list now ;p
February 12, 2010
YAY! I finally got djevoke to do a list... I've been trying to talk you into that for a while now, haven't I? LOL! I just added some more sculptures and the Nefertiti bust. Let me know what you think of the new additions.
February 10, 2010
Great work! 2,3 and 11 are my faves!
February 12, 2010
#2 is great. One of my all-time favorites.
February 17, 2010
I added four new ones, so #11 is different now. What do you think of the new #11?
February 10, 2010
Nice list! I've seen some of these in The Musée Rodin in Paris & while traveling in Italy. I love sculptures more than paintings as well! Cool!
February 12, 2010
Glad you also enjoyed the list Sharrie. Cool new profile photo too.
Lists Inspired by This List
Showing 1-1 of 1
created a list. February 11, 2010
Thanks to @Count_Orlok_22's list for the inspiration for this one. I haven't thought of my favorite sculptures since I was probably in Art History classes …
Nike of Samothrace Venus de Milo Bernini's David Greek Goddess Themis Psyche Revived by Love's Kiss
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