It is believed that modern monumental sculpture, like all the tallest monuments in the world, have ancient Egyptian roots, thanks to the Great Sphinx - the oldest, according to archaeologists, surviving monument on Earth. It remains only to guess how and how many years it took the ancient sculptors to create such a grandiose statue 20 meters high and 72 meters long, carved from a lime monolith.
The monument itself is full of deep meaning based on the cult of the dead: the sphinx is a formidable mythical creature with the body of a lion and the face of the deceased pharaoh Khafre, designed to protect his eternal peace, found in a pyramid built nearby.
Of course, the outstanding creations of monumental sculpture include the 9-meter marble statue of Athena Promachos in the Acropolis, the 14-meter Zeus (Temple of Zeus in Olympia) and the 12-meter Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon (both of gold and ivory) belonging to the chisel of an ancient Greek sculptor Phidias (about 450 BC). Unfortunately, only their descriptions have come down to us, the most famous of which belong to the writer and geographer Pausanias, who lived in the 2nd century.
Statue of Zeus by Phidias (by description)
As in antiquity, most of the "protagonists" of modern monumental sculpture are represented by beings of divine origin. Here Buddha Shakyamuni is beyond competition - the creator of the religious and philosophical doctrine, widespread in the countries of Asia and the Far East.
Tellingly, most of the Buddha statues known today were erected over the past three decades. It is worth noting that according to the established tradition, the sculptural images of the Buddha were performed either in full growth, or in a sitting position, in a characteristic oriental pose.
Spring Temple Buddha Statue
The tallest statue in the world and one of the tallest monuments in the world is the 128-meter statue of the Spring Temple Buddha or Waichourana Buddha, erected 13 years ago in China's Hennan province in the Pingdingshan city district. Together with the base, its height is nearly 155 meters.
Slightly inferior to her is the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni - Lezhun-Sasacja in the Sikain district (Myanmar) - 115, 82 m on a 14-meter pedestal. It was installed 6 years later - in 2008.
Shakyamuni Buddha statue
The third largest is the 100-meter Amitabha Buddha in the Japanese prefecture of Ibakari, Kanto region. His local pseudonym is Daibutsu Usiku in honor of the town that "sheltered" her. The pedestal adds an additional 20 meters to the statue. She is also "young" - she is only 20 years old.
Amitabha Buddha statue
The list of the most grandiose statues rightfully includes the 92-meter seated Buddha in Ang Thong (Thailand), installed there in 2008. It is not hard to imagine that, "standing up" in full growth, he would become the undisputed record holder among his many sculptural "relatives".
Buddha in Ang Thong
In the shadow of Christ
The erection of magnificent monumental statues of Christ is not a Christian tradition. Rather, it is a sincere manifestation of love for the Savior, combined with the initiative of local Christian communities. It is worth noting that all monuments to Christ, without exception, were built in countries where Catholicism predominates.
The most magnificent was the sculptural image of the Tsar Christ, which adorned the outskirts of the Polish town of Swiebodzin, in the Lubusz Voivodeship. The monument was erected by local parishioners with their own donations and efforts 5 years ago. Its height, including the 16-meter base, is 52 meters.
Statue of Christ King in Poland
The 34-meter statue of the Savior - Cristo de la Concordia was installed in 1994 on the top of the San Pedro hill in the vicinity of the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. Its height exceeds 34 meters, and with a pedestal - about 40.5 meters.
Statue of the Savior - Cristo de la Concordia
However, the most famous is Christ the Redeemer, crowning Mount Corcovada, who gained fame as the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro and has become its main attraction for almost 85 years. Its height together with its 8-meter base is 38 meters.
Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
In honor of the ideals of courage and freedom
The heroic theme in monumental sculpture is most vividly represented by the central figure of the memorial dedicated to the heroes of Stalingrad - "Motherland Calls" by the outstanding Soviet sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich. A giant 87-meter statue, cast from reinforced concrete on a 2-meter base, was installed on the top of the Mamayev Kurgan in 1967.
Her Ukrainian "sister" - the 62-meter Mother Motherland was installed in the capital of Ukraine in 1981. The "full height" of the statue is 102 meters, of which 40 meters are at the base. The frame and cladding elements of the monument are made of stainless steel and fastened together by welding, the technology of which was developed by specialists under the guidance of Academician Paton.
The Statue of Liberty can rightfully be called “the most American monument”. Like the vast majority of Americans, she arrived from overseas, however, as a gift from French citizens for the 100th anniversary of the American Revolution.
The Statue of Liberty
It was installed on the eponymous Liberty Island in 1886, about three kilometers southwest of Manhattan. It is cast in copper. Together with the base, its height is 93 meters. The Statue of Liberty itself is 46 meters away.