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Top 10 Greatest Sculptures

Over many centuries, great artists have provided humanity with incredible things. One of those incredible things is the art of sculpting. Continue reading to learn about these absolutely astounding works of art.


Bronze David

Donatello David 1430 Bronze

Made in the 1440’s, by Donatello (1386-1466), Bronze David is one of the most famous sculptures today. It is notable as the first unsupported standing work in bronze cast during the Renaissance period, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity. It depicts the young David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliath’s severed head just after killing the giant. The youth is standing naked, apart from a laurel-topped hat and boots, bearing the sword of Goliath. There is also much speculation as to when it was built. Suggested dates vary from the 1420s to the 1460s, although the exact date is not known.


Savannah Bird Girl Statue


The sculpture, known as the Bird Girl, was created in 1936, by sculptress Sylvia Shaw Judson (1897-1978) in Lake Forest, Illinois. It achieved fame when it was featured on the cover of the 1994 novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was sculpted at Ragdale, the summer home of her family. Bird Girl is cast in bronze and stands 50 inches tall. She is the image of a young girl wearing a simple dress and a sad or contemplative expression, with her head tilted to the left. She stands straight, her elbows propped against her waist as she holds up two bowls out from her sides. The bowls are often described by viewers as “bird feeders.”


The Discus Thrower


The Discus Thrower, or the Discobolus, is a famous lost Greek bronze original. The sculpture of it is still unknown. The Discobolus was completed towards the end of the severe period (460-450 BC). It is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble, such as the first to be recovered, the Palombara Discopolus, or smaller scaled versions in bronze. As always in Greek athletics, the Discus Thrower is completely nude.


The Kiss

The-Kiss-25The Kiss is an 1889 marble sculpture by the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). This sculpture has a interesting story to it. it depicts the 13th-century Italian noblewoman immortalized in Dante’s Inferno, who falls in love with her husband, Giovanni Malatesta’s, younger brother Paolo. Having fallen in love while reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, the couple are discovered and killed by Francesca’s husband. In the sculpture, the book can be seen in Paolo’s hand. The lover’s lips do not actually touch in the sculpture to suggest that they were interrupted, and met their demise without their lips ever having touched. When critics first saw the sculpture in 1887, they suggested the less specific title Le Baiser (The Kiss).


Hermes and The Infant Dionysus

Hermes Statue

Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, also known as the Hermes of Praxiteles or the Hermes of Olympus, is an ancient Greek sculpture of Hermes and the infant Dionysus, discovered in 1877, in the ruins of the Temple of Hera at Olympia. It is displayed at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. It is traditionally attributed to Praxiteles and dated to the 4th century BC, based on a remark by the 2nd century Greek traveler Pausanias, and has made a major contribution to the definition of Praxitelean style. Its attribution is, however, the object of fierce controversy among art historians.
The sculpture is unlikely to have been one of Praxiteles’ famous works, as no ancient replicas of it have been identified. The documentary evidence associating the work with Praxiteles is based on a passing mention by the second-century AD traveler Pausanias.


Lady Justice


The Lady Justice Sculpture is one of the greatest known sculptures in the world. This statue is not attributed to any one artist, but the fact that it adorns so many courthouses in the world has made it one of the more popular sculptures. This sculpture goes by many names, including Scales of Justice and Blind Justice, but is most commonly known as Lady Justice. The statue dates all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman times as the Goddess of justice and law.




Created by Michelangelo (1475-1564), the Pieta depicts the Virgin Mary holding her only son, Jesus Christ, in her arms. Prior to sculpting the Pieta, Michelangelo was not a very known artist. He was only in his early twenties when he was told, in 1498, to do a life sized sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding her son in her arms. In about two years, from a single slab of marble, Michelangelo created one of the most beautiful sculptures ever.


The Thinker


Also from Auguste Rodin, is the famous sculpture “The Thinker.” Originally named The Poet, the piece was part of a commission by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris to create a monumental portal to act as the door of the museum. Rodin based his theme on The Divine Comedy of Dante and entitled the portal The Gates of Hell. Each of the statues in the piece represented one of the main characters in the epic poem. The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem. (In the final sculpture, a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates, pondering the hellish fate of those beneath him.) The sculpture is nude, as Rodin wanted a heroic figure in the tradition of Michelangelo, to represent intellect as well as poetry.


Venus de Milo

Venus De Milo Louvre

The Venus de Milo sculpture was created sometime between 100 and 130 B.C. it is believed to depict Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) the Greek goddess of love and beauty. It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. Its arms and original plinth have been lost. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch; it was earlier mistakenly attributed to the master sculptor Praxiteles. It is at present on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Amazingly, the statue was discovered accidentally in a farmer’s field.




“David” is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo. It is a 5.17 meter (17 feet) marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favored subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series to be positioned high up on the facade of Florence Cathedral, the statue was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo Della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September, 1504. Because of the nature of the hero that it represented, it soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. The statue was moved to the Academia Gallery in Florence in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.

Portions of this text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Some text is derived from or courtesy of Wikipedia.

  • ianz09

    Appears to be a missing item title on numero dos

    • Not anymore :)

    • alexjamesk

      It's still missing two arms.

  • timothyjames

    Top 10 Greatest Ancient Sculptures (with the exception of Rodin and Judson). Exactly what I expected to see on the list though. It would be nice to have a bit more explanation as to why these sculptures are so widely regarded as the greatest rather than these kind of superficial ones for those of us who are only tangentially familiar with sculpture as an art form.

  • bluesman87

    my favorite Michaelangelo statue has always been this one .

    • bluesman87

      oh and no.9 is just a bird bath, you could make identical casts of it and sell it at a nursery, the old ladies will go bananas .

  • cqsteve

    I had the fortune to see some of these sculptures last year and from a man whose previous appreciation of art was zero, I was blown away by the scope of talent of the artists. Looking at Pieta – the face of the Virgin Mary (utter sorrow & resignation) nearly made me cry. I still swear that David was breathing as we approached him. I saw another Michaelangelo (the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus) in some small church and it was simple but incredibly detailed. Great list.

    • freckledsmile99

      So agree on the face of the Virgin Mary – wanted to weep.

    • Angela

      Same here. La Pieta should be on first place. It’s not possible to explain it, you must see it.

  • oliveralbq

    i like being thrown for a loop.

    i just *knew* phidias' statue of athena the virgin (once housed in the parthenon) would appear somewhere on the list.

    no problem that it didnt:
    the choices and descriptions are great, spencer.

  • gw1pcd

    Many of my favourites. I saw the Pieta in the Vatican and it literally took my breath away. It is lit beautifully and no picture or reproduction does it justice. The Bird Girl I didn't know but it is enchanting.

    • Jackie

      Actually there is an exact reproduction of it at the Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupré outside of Québec City. You can get MUCH closer to it than the original and therefore get a really good idea of how amazing this piece is.

  • dragut

    What about Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus?

    • mordechaimordechai

      wow! is that one in florence, yes?

    • cambered

      Amazing sculpture, thanks for sharing.

      Is that the head of Medusa that Perseus is brandishing? If so, I always thought she had a serpents tail…?

      • Julius

        The depictions of the Gorgons vary but usually they have snake skin and fangs and snakehair but no snaketail…and all that only because Medusa asked Athena if she was jealous of her beauty :-D

  • Metalwrath

    I've always considered "The Dying Gaul" to be one of the greatest statues. Nice list.

  • Stefan

    the thinker? FIRE POWER!!!!

    lol i love night at the museum :P

    decent list, enjoyed it, although (excuse my ignorance) i dont see whats so special about number 9…

  • garybeal

    see these are the kind of lists that made me start using listverse not top ten tattoos a man should get

  • jazper

    hey! where's Canova?!!
    one of the most astonishing sculpture I've ever seen was a lamassu in NYC metropolitan — those things are almost upsetting — yet I agree, the David is number 1!=)

  • astraya

    A lot of art (painting and sculpture) seems to be an excuse to get people's clothes off!

  • hybrid

    What's up with David's penis?

    Steroids anyone?

    • >.<

      hes secretly an asian

    • Julius

      Catholic church being a frigid institution with kolpophobia anyone?

    • Wise Guy

      What's up with David's penis?

      Nothing at that particular moment

    • rawcookiedough

      It's cold in the Accademia Gallery. Very cold…

    • Mr. S

      it's quite smaller compared to the upper part of the body because michelangelo actually intended it to be small because the statue is originally placed above the observers… if the statue were perfectly proportional, viewing it from the top would make the upper body smaller than the rest of the body(due to perspective!!!), but michelangelo literally made the upper body bigger to maintain perfect proportion when viewed from above….

      if you can see, not only his dick is smaller but his legs too… thants how brillant Michelangelo is.

      • Mr. S

        and the "ecstacy of st. theresa" should be on this list too… my second personal favorite sculpture..

        • circlefan

          hahaha…i too, am looking for that one

    • rain

      Why were you looking at his penis?


      • Nocturnesthesia

        Look up the controversy about the replica David statue in Buffalo… People kept welding metal diapers on him and otherwise trying to cover up his junk. Yes, here in the "hooker-n-blow" capital of the northeast. Go figure.

  • cqsteve

    The Lion Monument ( also known as the Lion of Lucerne) must have been a near miss for this list.

  • rtbradshaw

    The Venus de Milo does not belong on this list. It was a third rate statue from the Hellenistic era by an obscure sculptor. It wasn't mistakenly attributed to Praxiteles, a famous sculptor; it was intentionally misattributed to him. The sculpture doesn't in any way match his style, and the stylistic details of the statue clearly place the statue several hundred years after Praxiteles. There is a very, very good reason no one ever shows pictures of the back of the statue, because the sculptor gets very sloppy. The statue was meant to sit in a niche in a wall, and if no one was ever going to see the back of the statue, the sculptor wasn't going to be bothered putting any effort into making it look nice – a common technique among low quality statues in the Hellenistic period. The reason the statue is famous is that the Italian government had forced the Louvre to return several famous statues to Italy, and the curators at the Louvre needed something famous to compete. They found this third rate statue and gave it a lot of great press. That is all the Venus de Milo is. It is the Justin Bieber of statues.

    • cambered

      "That is all the Venus de Milo is. It is the Justin Bieber of statues."

      Hilarious. Hopefully somebody lops off Biebers arms then… you know, just for authenticity's sake.

    • ianthemagnificent

      I agree it looks pretty poor. For example, which looks better?

      Venus de Medici:

      or Venus de Milo:

      And I don't know anything about art – that's just one example I stumbled across now.

      • rtbradshaw

        Yeah, the Venus de Medici is modeled on the Aphrodite of Knidos (Cnidus), which was sculpted by Praxiteles:

        Praxiteles pioneered the use of the S curve, a naturalistic and subtle curve in the body (in the Venus de Milo, the S curve his ham fisted and exaggerated. See this unflattering angle: The mark of a decent sculpture, IMHO, is there are no unflattering angles). He was also the first to sculpt a fully nude female (again, the Aphrodite of Knidos). Before him, the completely nude female had always been taboo in Greek sculpture.

  • Praveen

    Jesus Christ wasn't Mary's only son..:)

    • VintageObsessive

      You're right! The Bible tells us that Jesus had 4 brothers (James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas) and some sisters as well.

      He definitely wasn't Mary's only son. :):)

      • tim023

        They're right. It should say her oldest son.__

      • Julius

        He had cousins too, John and James the Greater…

      • in terras incognitas

        Those could have been Joseph's sons without being Mary's.

  • Arnaud

    You could also add to this list the Winged Victory of Samothrace:

    Or The Man Walking, by Giacometti

    And so many more by Auguste Rodin:
    Les Bourgeois de Calais:

    His portrait of Balzac:

  • Stephen

    Maybe you could make room for Bernini's Rape of Proserpina? The detail of the hands clasping the flesh is mind bogglingly brilliant.

  • MindlessM

    Two pieces that should have been on the list: The Statue of Liberty, easily the world's most recognizable statue and Bernini's "The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. And one or two honorable mentions: The Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Zeus at Olympi, two of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.

    • Armin Tamzarian

      The Statue of Liberty was the first thing that came to my mind too, but then I realised it is not a sculpture. ;)

      • cambered

        Perhaps a list of the 10 Greatest Statues is in order… aside from the lady you have already mentioned, I would nominate "The Motherland Calls", on the banks of the Volga river in Volgograd, Russia… just magnificent:

        • Julius

          Is there a distinct difference between a sculpture and a statue?

          • oliveralbq

            yeah…sculptures belong on this list, and statues belong on a statue list.


          • oliveralbq

            or maybe this:
            –these differentiations don't seem to be rooted in absolution, but i'm not sure how much of a leeway would be acceptable to art people, or whoever else cares.

            ——sculptures are æsthetic
            ——statues are representational
            (christ the redeemer is a statue; the fountain at jardin à la française is a sculpture).

            ——sculptures are molded of primarily softer material
            ——statues are chipped away at, or carved (using harder mateirals)
            (hence: sand sculptures, and not sand statues)

            ——sculpture is a blanket term for any 3d work of art (æsthetic)
            ——statues usually depict a happening or person, event (representative) — and almost always depict a living thing, be it human, animal, battle b/w humans and cats — whatever
            (hence there is no existing statue of a castle or an x-box)

            —–every statue is a sculpture, but not all sculptures are statues.
            sculpture is a more encompassing term than statue.

            there are probably more technical differences that im not aware of, also.

          • cambered

            "every statue is a sculpture, but not all sculptures are statues.
            sculpture is a more encompassing term than statue. "

            Thanks for articulating that one so well, Oli. That's the angle I was looking at it from, in particular that statues are always representational; sculpture not necessarily so.

    • Julius

      No offense, but I have this feeling that all the posters here calling out for The Ecstasy of St. Teresa are thinking something along the lines of "hmmm…sculptures, sculptures…what was the one in Angels and Demons called again? The Ecstacy of something?….Ah yeah the Ecstasy of St. Teresa, let's go complain that that isn't on the list…" ;-) I think the main reason it is not on this list is that it is a group of sculptures, not a singular one like all the other entries on this list.

      • Jack H

        The Ecstasy of St. Teresa should be here

    • ianthemagnificent

      You don't get points for bigness.

  • tim

    I'm not an art person, but I did enjoy the list. Could have been better if the author provided the current locations (i.e. Museums) of each statue.

  • danny

    most boring list in a while

    • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

      Most boring comment in a while

  • Armin Tamzarian

    I really feel number nine doesn't belong on this list. It's not nearly as famous as others, and not nearly as pretty. Some others have already suggested better entries, and I would like to add 'the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa' to that. It is a shame you left Bernini out of this list, seeing as he was one of the foremost sculptors of the Baroque. Also, few entries on this list capture human emotion as well as that statue. It feels almost alive. Only the Pietà of Michelangelo can compete with that.

    Furthermore, I felt the entry for 'Lady Justice' was a bit to broad, because the rest of the entries were about single sculptures. However, it being such a popular subject in sculpting, the entry surely can be justified. Just not as high on the list, in my humble opinion.

    • Armin Tamzarian

      Oh, and I almost forgot, the Statue of Marcus Aurelius.

  • MindlessM

    And if no. 9, Savannah Bird Girl Statue is on the list because there needed to be a female artist on the list, then perhaps a better choice would have been to include Camile Claudel, a contemporary of Rodin who was also a student of his who then became his lover.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    I enjoy these kind of lists, reminds me of the Dick King one we have here in S.A. he was an English trader at a British station here.
    He was best known for his historic horse ride in 1842 when he rode 600 miles in 10 days for help for a British Garrison.

  • danmoo071

    I've personally seen 4 of these and they are marvelous in person. I am surprised another piece housed in The Louvre is not on the list, The Winged Victory.

  • lords8n

    #8 – "He sculpture of it is still unknown."
    I think you meant "The sculpture of it is still unknown."…anyways…

    Is it not Myron who created this work?

  • AndreX
  • I expected to see an entry about the Laocoon!

  • Coocoocuchoo

    what about Morph?

  • br0ck

    i knew david is going to be nb 1 good work

    • JoYfulN0ise

      Agreed. This was one of those lists when you know what number 1 is before you even open it

      • mrjimmyos

        And you'd be disappointed if it wasn't :D

  • osmkk

    Great list.. I’m a recent follower of listverse. I spend now a lot of time in checkin out new lists. And for this one, i think bernini’s marble masterpiece rape of proserpina deserved a place. The detailings on the body of the women is simply awesome in that.. But still, this is a great list. Good work!

  • dread

    Not extensive enough to really warrant "Top" in the title and some choices are just odd. Nevertheless, a continuation from yesterday on my part about Michelangelo's sculptures. As a child, my parents had a trunk of old newspapers and clippings from historical events such as the moon landing, the kennedys assassinations, ect. One clipping I remember was from 1972 when a guy named Laszlo Toth was arrested for hacking the Pieta with a hammer, screaming "I am Jesus!" . Some of the people present that eye witnessed the attack, made off with remnants that were never returned and Mary's nose had to be replaced with a part of her back.
    Here's some actual footage of the event and the destruction caused. The voice over to whatever documentary this is from is a bit much but the footage and preparations for restoration I find moving:

    [youtube o-VpXvi0dOU youtube]

  • vanowensbody

    Great list.

  • oouchan

    I like sculptures. Wish I had that much talent. :)
    I have a sculpture of Einstein…at least it's supposed to be. It looks more like my grandfather.
    Does anyone remember the movie The Goonies and the statue of David? That part was hilarious!

    Neat list.

    • Gav

      Especially when they tried gluing it on upside down. And then there's the controversial aspect of Mouth(?) holding it in his mouth to hide it. Or was it Chunk?

      • oouchan

        Actually it was potato chips Chunk had in his mouth….but Chunk glued it upside-down and then Brandon Walsh said " If God made it that way, you'd all be pissing in your faces!"
        Too funny!

  • cambered

    I can still remember seeing "David" in all his glory when I was a six year old boy… so beautiful; made a lifelong impression on me. Very pleased to see him at numero uno.

    It just goes to show how incredible a human being Michelangelo was… not only "David", but the stunning tragedy of "Pieta" as well. They are unmitigated masterpieces.

    I concur too with several other posters re #9. I looked at it for quite some time and must say it appears out of its depth in such exalted company.

  • Rex

    Great list! But with one major fault – no mention of the Riace bronzes. I my, an many scholars opinion, the most perfect sculptures ever made. They are simply astounding

  • RMP

    Top 10 greatest sculptures as a title is a bit far fetched.
    You have soley foccused on figurative, genereric favourites; not considering anything contemprary or abstract.
    Personally, if i was going to pick a 'great' sculpture from Greek times it would be the Maenad of Skopas, but that is just my opinion after a year studying Greek Sculpture.
    Overall a disspointing approach to great sculptures; I was expecting a more opinionated, diverse range.

  • iago

    Not wanting to be insulting, or offensive, but I think Gian Lorenzo Bernini deserves a place on this list … like at the top.

  • justme

    i like the pieta, the discus thrower, and lady justice the best. all the others are awful or just ok. michealangelo's david's head is too big, and the bird girl? seriously? that's awful :P

    • rawcookiedough

      Michaelangelo's David was designed to be observed from bellow. Perspective will make the head, the large hands and excessivelt long left arm just the right size. This is what you're supposed be looking at:

      • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

        Another fun fact: When David was first displayed it was considered too obscene so it had a gold "man thong" on it.

        • rawcookiedough



    Rename it top 10 FAMOUS Sculptures. Because clearly Pieta is the greatest one on the list.

    • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

      Hell ya!

  • Tassyane

    What about Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by Bernini?

  • FlameHorse

    Jesus Christ was not Mary's only son. But never mind that. The list is fantastic.

  • MacMan

    I always admire the sculpture/bust of Alexander the Great.. Just looking at it and thinking that at one point he was the most powerful person in the world (at such a young age). Today's list is awesome.

  • timmar68

    Wow. Beautiful! I didn't know Michelangelo was in his early 20s. Wow.

  • gringation

    The Winged Victory of Samothrace was always a personal favorite, for some reason.

    Interesting list, including a few I'd never heard of before. Thanks!

    • I got to see it when I was a student, visiting the Louvre. It was at the end of a long gallery, and dramatically lit. Made quite an impression…

  • Lifeschool

    Good list, and I agree with the choices and the order. Well done.

  • Vulcan Thee Flagrant

    Does The Colossus not count or something!!!?

    • The Starcraft 2 unit? No it’s doesn’t it’s imba ;-)

      And the coloss of Rhodes doesn’t count because a) it was destroyed some 2000 years ago b) it was freaking huge, almost of colossal size, whereas all the other entries are “normal” sized, the biggest is 5m…c) if you’d put the colossus in you’d also have to put in the Zeus statue, the buddhas in Afghanistan, the jesus statue in rio, the varus monument in Germany and of course the statue of liberty, which doesn’t leave enough room for actual sculptures… But hey feel free to write a list with the coloss in it, I’ve done half your work already anyways ;-)

    • Julius

      Hmm my reply from the mobile version seems to have disappeared again…
      I'll just type it out one more time.
      If you're talking about the Starcraft 2 unit, then no, it doesn't count, it's too imba ;-)
      The Colossus of Rhodes doesn't count either because it's
      a) Freaking huge, almost of colossal proportions (:-D), whereas the biggest item in this list is 5m.
      b) It was destroyed some 2000+ years ago, all the sculptures in this list are easily accessible by going to a museum.
      c) If you include the Colossus you'd also have to include the other famous mega statues, the Zeus statue at Olympia, the Buddhas in Afghanistan, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, the varus monument in germany and of course, the Statue of Liberty.
      Feel free to write a list with the Colossus in it, I've done half your work already anyways :-D

  • “ODHI”

    Great list,Give credit where it’s due;now how about ceasars sculpture ? “it definately dues credit !

  • psychosurfer

    I have the feeling that the author is by no means an art expert, otherwise he wouldn´t aim for such a mammoth task as condensing 7000 years of sculpting into a Top Ten List. I recommend to narrow your goals to a "Top Ten Greek Sculptures" for instance.
    I enjoyed the posters´suggestions better and here is another great one (my favorite from Donatello):

  • A popular American sculpture from 100 years ago was The Hiker.

    This monument to the Spanish American War can be found in small towns all over the U.S.

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    I was hoping Michelangelo's Pieta would be number one. It is far superior to the shitty David, that is all disproportionate.

  • rawcookiedough

    This list should not only be longer but also elaborate a little more on the artistic value of each piece. Where are the Egyptian masterpieces? It seems to me the death mask of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus is an obvious choice (also give a shout out to his dad for trying to fight the artistic establishment). What about Bernini? His own David is tremendous, or Pluto’s mesmerizing grip on poor Proserpina, the Anima Dannata… #9 seems to displease everyone. Chose the Barberini Faun (a personal favourite) or the Nike (Victory) of Samothrace instead. Or even Degas’ Little Dancer, which shocked the first patrons for being so offensively realistic and despising established canons of beauty. The Venus de Milo was the object of a tremendous publicity stunt when it was discovered; after the French had to return another, superior piece looted in the Napoleonic wars the authorities decided to push forward the Venus as something superlative, and it simply isn’t worthy of its fame.

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Depending on how you define great, the Belvedere Torso could also be up there.

    • rawcookiedough

      Speaking as a hot blooded straight woman… that thing makes me think naughty thoughts.

      • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

        … I guess that means it would fall into your definition of great then.

        • rawcookiedough

          yesh, shir…
          Art is supposed to stir emotions, and the torso certainly does.
          And even if it seems strange (or perhaps it doesn't) the damaged/weathered artwork of ancient times has a special charm to it. A good example is how the absense of colour from the ancient Greek/Roman sculptures is so much more beautiful than the original (and kind of silly) look.

  • backnineblues

    an interesting and unusual aspect about "the thinker" is that his right elbow is on his left leg.

    • astraya

      Apparently, some people think better like that!

      What is he thinking? Probably "I wonder who stole my clothes"!

  • To me, "Laocoön and His Sons" should be on the list, top 5

  • Will Trame

    I like art lists. There were a lot of notable examples here. Another sculpture that I really liked was “Prometheus Bound”. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the artist’s name at this time. I believe that his surname began with the letters “Sz”.

  • Um..

    Hmm, not to be a troll but I feel putting David at #1 was a cop-out. Sure its great, and by no means is it mediocre, and historically it contributed much to modern sculpture, but what of other great statues from the ancient times such as Laocoön and His Sons?

  • Brianalanvh

    Seriously no statues by Bernini? and The Savana Bird Girl Statue ranked higher than Donatello's David. This list is a joke!

  • swapie

    Wow! David looks so gay in no 10!

    • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

      Ya that's kind of the point.

  • Broi

    Switch 2 with 4 and I’ll be happy.

  • Randall

    After a long absence, I've returned, to say that as lists go, this one is at best, "meh."

    In the first place, the list writer makes the oft-repeated error of equating "most famous" with "best" or "greatest." The mere fact that a work of art is very famous does not, in itself, say much about it's aesthetic value or inherent artistic worth. Now, having said that, most of the choices on this list *do* belong here; however, the "bird girl" most certainly does not. Granted it has a haunting poignancy about it–no small quality in a sculpture–but that's about it. Except for having been used to represent "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (both on the cover of the book and in the film) it never would have been generally known. It's just another piece of fairly commonplace funerary art, very non-descript and plain. If one wanted to include funerary art, there are *far* better examples, such as Michelangelo's tombworks for Pope Julius and for Lorenzo de Medici.

    Next, a list of this kind that ignores Bernini is lacking in the extreme; he almost single-handedly defined the demarcation between the High Renaissance and Italian Baroque, and was a master of both. Bernini is only one of several sculptors from this period of Italy that could be mentioned, but his is the most glaring absence.

    Next, "Spencer," in compounding his/her errors, chooses to include two of Rodin's most well-known, but not necessarily greatest, works. Surely, yes, one could argue that either "The Thinker" or "The Kiss" belong on a list of this kind—but if one is truly interested in citing the works of the greatest artistic force from a particular sculptor, then for Rodin I would have first chosen his monumental representation of Honore de Balzac, surely one of the greatest and most powerful sculptures since the Classical Age. It's overwhelming, whereas the other two works of Rodin—while great—are really merely iconic.

    Next point, Spencer–a "pieta" is ANY representation of Mary and the dead Christ—there are many examples of this both in sculpture and painting. However, one could say that Michelangelo's is certainly the most famous and perhaps, yes, the greatest.

    The choice of "Lady Justice" here is another example of pandering to fame over true merit… and in fact, a nearly disingenuous one, seeing as Spencer isn't even citing a particular version of the statue, but "Lady Justices" in general. This is absurd. Mass-produced works cannot and should not stand with the other items on this list; not that such works can't sometimes be great on a certain level, but surely we'd all recognize that their artistic greatness–if it exists—is of an entirely different nature than that of a true masterpiece.

    And that too is lacking in this list: an elucidation of what makes a given work of art a masterpiece. Why were these particular works chosen, as opposed to others? There's no real communication of the reason or the criteria.

    Lastly, I would point out all the great examples of sculpture that are missing here, from some of the works of Henry Moore, to Cellini, to ACTUAL works of the ancient Greeks. The only representations of Greek genius here are Roman copies of inferior quality; whereas true Greek works do still exist—such as the Charioteer of Delphi, the Zeus/Poseidon from the sea, the Elgin Marbles, the numerous examples of abstract Cycladian art–far older than Classical Greece–and so on. One could even have cited the great Greek works lost to us, such as the Zeus of Olympia, but I think that might be a kind of cheat.

    There are also truly powerful works of sculpture which pre-date the Classical world, and these too might have been mentioned.

    Lists of this kind are never easy; it's difficult to pare down Art to a choice of ten. But if one is going to attempt it, one should do the homework more rigorously.

    • oouchan

      Nice to see you posting again!
      Hope you are back to stay.

      • Randall

        Thanks… we'll see. My absence was due to a perfect storm of work/family/health issues combined with, unfortunately, a broken heart. (sniff). Yes, my heart can be broken, and yes, I do have a heart.

        • oouchan


          1) Hope you are doing better after all the issues.
          2) Zen hug for broken heart.

          …and just for the sake of asking…it wasn't the goat, was it?
          (my sense of humor outweighs my sense of compassion)

          • Randall

            "my sense of humor outweighs my sense of compassion"

            Mine too, even for myself.

            And no, it wasn't the goat. I'll never make THAT mistake again.

          • Blogball

            Wow it's just like old times . Good to see you back Randall

          • Maggot

            it wasn't the goat. I'll never make THAT mistake again.

            Hey dude, good to see you back. If I may, a bit of friendly advice – when you’ve lived and loved as I have, you’ll learn that it’s not the goats that break your heart, it’s those goddamn sheep.

        • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

          Don't worry broken hearts can be fixed (or at least patched) by banging random slutes!

    • undaunted warrior 1

      Welcome back I thought you had left us for good, missed your comments for a long time now.

    • mom424

      I'm so glad to see you've returned. We've had no-one stepping up to fill your ridiculously large boots; no expert on ancient Greece, that's for damn sure. Maybe I could have that list on Art movements now? (no pressure, we'll gently ramp up to it) I hope your health issues are under control now… as far as your broken heart? Consequence of loving and beats the alternative eh? Besides, my affection for you hasn't waned. Welcome back!

      • Randall

        The health issues were not and are not THAT serious. No biggie. I do have to have an operation soon-ish, but it's nothing major. They can get syphilis out of your brain by cutting, can't they?

        No, but seriously, I do have to be opened up soon, but really not a big deal—at least I hope not.

        I actually had some fairly good news, healthwise, too. Found out my whole family has the bad gene that gives you hemochromatosis, which'll kill ya good and dead. Fortunately my brothers and sister, who all have it, are being treated for it and are thus unlikely to die from it. Even more fortunately, while I have the nasty gene, it turns out it's turned off in me, and thus I'm the only one who *hasn't* got the disease. Yay for me!

        We won't discuss the broken heart. That's still a very sore subject.

    • Welcome back Randall – it is nice to see you here again. I am sorry to hear about your troubles – hopefully Christmas will bring some happiness!

      • Randall

        I owe you an apology Jamie… you had asked me to act as a judge in a Listverse competition a few months back, and I never got back to you. I had every intention of doing so and fulfilling the honor—and I *was* honored–but it was right at that time that shit started happening. Hope you understand.

    • Horse.

      Good to se you're back Randall. This site sucked arse with out comments from the likes of yourself.

      • Randall


      • bucslim

        Seriously, this site really sucks when the old school commenters go away.

    • jum1801

      Heh. My comment about the execrable Bird Girl was almost word-for-word yours. So of course I think your comment articulate and well-reasoned!

  • bluesfan1875

    I'm not sure this list should be called "10 greatest sculptures" it seems more like "10 most well known sculptures"

  • creator

    Good list! The article needs more editing to clear out some silly mistakes.

  • Julie

    Good list, but I'm a little disappointed that Antonio Canova's "Ravishment of Psyche" wasn't included…

  • Alex

    Good, list, though I would have liked to see a Bernini on it.

  • yellowfishy

    Helloooooo !!! Finally ! I took a very wise decision today, because you see I chose to join WordPress today. I've been reading lists on here for like an eternity. And wellI thought time had come for me to be engaged to this site. So here I am writing my first comment, and hopefully my first of many to come :D

    "I assure you, don't read my blog, it's just nonsens, even I don't understand it. Well at least I warned you (and no, I'm not trying to use reverse psychology on you :P)"


  • Erin

    I disagree with this title. As an Art Historian there are truly no 'greatest' sculptures. It would be more appropriate to title this "My Top 10 Favorite Sculptures".

  • VaJayJay

    You should have mentioned that the bronze statue of David (#1) was created for a member of the Medici family who had an inclination toward young boys. He's standing on the helmet so that the feather goes up between his legs with his toes balanced precariously on it. The black finish also makes the entire thing extremely sensuous, and if you really look at it the body is quite womanly. We had to discuss and analyze that thing in art history for a loooonnng time.

  • Moonbeam

    To try to narrow down all sculpture from the man's earliest examples to most recent to just 10 was an impossible task. Nice try, but how about the 10 best of one era or another, or by the style, or subject matter?
    And what happened with the editing? There a re a ton of simple typos that it seems could have been caught. Take this from #7 "they suggested the less specific title Le Baiser (The Kiss)." As opposed to what original title which wasn't even mentioned? By the way it was originally titled "Francesca Da Rimini")

  • mom424

    I love this type of list – something that I know almost nothing about, but wished I did. The comments today were near as informative as the list; it appears that there was a huge miss eh? Bernini has been mentioned more than once, so I took a look. Way amazing. Someone mentioned the Rape of Proserpina and the gripping of flesh – I found a picture. This is definitely worthy of inclusion. More so than Venus…

    Still it's a worthy effort. Would hope for more in this vein.

  • rain

    If I'm rich. I will buy all of those sculptures and open my own museum.

  • Jamison

    "Pieta" describes ALL statues of Mary holding the body of Jesus. Michaelangelo's is certainly the most famous though.

  • Yomamma

    Did anyone wear clothes back then?

  • Will Trame

    Mount Rushmore.

  • mrjimmyos

    Cool list, nice one listmaker. I was glad to see my favourite sculpture on there (the Pieta). Sculptures are my favourite type of artwork and to see an accurate, fully fleshed out man or lady always amazes me, all the details and the presentation, not easy to pull off. Unfortunately I'm not as into sculptures as I would like to be, not yet anyways, so thanks for showing me some of the other great works I've not acknowledged as I would of liked to.

    ……………F*** YEAH!

  • ianthemagnificent

    Yo Michelangelo I'm real happy for you but Bernini had one of the best sculptures of all time!

  • santa

    …And Justice For All anybody?

  • Cammykinnis

    The Doryphoros of Polykleitus should be up there. A close perfection of the human form.

  • 23redleader

    all of these great, but im really more of an art deco fan instead of classical. Demetre Chiparus anyone?

  • Memeito

    I wish they would censor this statues somehow and cover their sexual organs….It's really embarrasing and kids would get wrong ideas…..

    • chrom3d

      Oh come on..

  • chrom3d

    If #5 is on this list just because you can see her in so many courthouses today, how about a sculpture of Jesus on a cross.. Almost all christian houses have them plus the number of churches that exist today..

  • circlefan

    i've enjoyed the list, thanks!
    i just wish one of bernini's work showed up

    • prout

      agreed! perhaps the st theresa piece?

  • d.q.

    i can't believe Winged Victory of Samothrace isn't on this list. i was fortunate enough to be able to see it in person last summer and its breathtaking.

  • rslongboarder

    Hey everyone, this is Reid, the creator of this list. Thankyou all for the appreciative comments! For those who did not like the list, sorry, I really tried my best. This list took me about 1 hour minutes to make. After I made it, the file somehow got deleted, so I re-made it. Then when I submitted it, the CAPTCHA text wouldn't work. Then, a day later, my computer broke. After I worked on the computer for two hours, I got to the homepage, and the Internet wouldn't work. It took me 3 days to figure out why it wouldn't work. Then, finally, I got it to work and submitted the list. I never thought it would actually be published. But, as it turns out, It did. I want to thank everyone who appreciated the list, and for those who didn't, try making your own list and see how hard it is, then have it deleted, and go through what I did. Then you can really tell me my list wasn't good. Thanks.

  • valeria

    Compra tu lista de regalos a través de Inkanta sin moverte de la comodidad de tu casa. Cancela con cualquier medio de pago tarjeta debito o crédito/ PSE/ Efectivo contraentrega.

  • jum1801

    "Greatest" sculptures? Meh. Most "well-known","recognized" or even "famous" perhaps. But "greatest" sculptures must be the obvious product of genius; from the those whose creativity is apparent and needs no explanation to be appreciated: the works of Phidias, Praxiteles, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo and so on.

    Familiarity and popularity has absolutely nothing to do with it. And so under any definition, the works of Sylvia Shaw Judson are NOT among the "greatest sculptures". You've confused the general public's familiarity with a work with well-founded appreciation of artistic merit and skill. The problem with seeing greatness through the prism of familiarity is that, on that basis, the Heisman Trophy should be right near the top of the list, because that powerfully kinetic and expressive bronze is known to millions.

    But the Heisman Trophy no more belongs on this list than does the Savannah Bird Girl.

  • muzik dinle

    Appears to be a missing item title on numero dos

  • Phil

    I am glad to see that I was not the only one who feels jilted that Bernini didn't make the list…that man had more sculpting talent than Michelangelo in my opinion

  • Tyler

    At least 3 of the sculptures on this list were inspired by Laocoon

  • Xazz

    Where the hell is Bernini in all this? One of the most amazing sculptors ever and he doesn't even get a mention? This is the list of sculptures for people who don't know what sculptures are beyond what they see in the most basic of history books.

  • sofkes

    Most of these statue people have banging bodies…just saying.

  • Taha_Soysal

    What about Mount Rushmore?

  • Giovanni

    Number 9 ? In top 10 sculptures of the world? Bullshit.

  • Ciwei

    Il Cristo Vileto was a pretty amazing sculpture as well given the medium in which it was made. Personally, I think it more impressive than some of those featured.

  • arvindpadmanabhan

    I agree that all these are great sculptures but the list blatantly ignores Asian art. The list should be named Top 10 Greatest Western Sculptures. People often mistake their own cultures to be representative of the world.

    • aha

      oh god these indians ,it irritates me so much.
      get lost man…these masterpieces are better known jst and represent different styles..


    I think that this list in inappropriately named. I should be Top Ten Classical Statues. This list is far from comprehensive of all the different statues from all time and all around the world.

  • I am going to have to disagree with this list entirely. I’ve been to Italy, and I’ve laid my eyes on most of the sculptures in this list. I have to say, i’m disappointed that Bernini’s “the Rape of Prosepine” didn’t make this list. It’s WAY more impressive than any of the David’s on this list. I myself am a sculptor, and I think this list needs to be updated to include talent, not just sculptures that are “Famous”

  • Victor

    What imbecile compiled that list…an image of a bad small plastic replica of The Thinker was used, thats completely stupid…and to completely leave out Winged Victory of Samothrace is a crime…

    This is what you get when you have assholes create a list that only have a cursory knowledge of sculptural art.

    • To Victor, I wanted to post that as well, but I had forgotten what it was called. I saw it when I visited the Louvre in 1988. I totally 100% agree with you on that particular sculpture.

  • solaris station

    fine list. i would add “the ecstasy of St Teresa” and also a statue of Hercules stealing the apples of Hesperides- don’t know the exact name of it but it’s classic.

  • solaris station

    I’ m talking about the “Farnese Hercules” or “Hercules resting” made by Lysippos.

  • What about Frederic Remington’s “The Bronco Buster” ?

  • I being born and raised in New Hampshire and though it was formed naturally and is now sadly gone, how about “The Old Man Of The Mountain” ??

  • Robin

    No Bernini? This list has instantly lost all credibility.

  • Winged Victory

  • Kathern Andreas

    I think that everything said was actually very logical. But, what about this? suppose you were to create a awesome post title? I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your website, but suppose you added a title that makes people want more? I mean this blog name is kinda boring. You should peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create article titles to get people to click. You might add a related video or a picture or two to get readers interested about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make your blog a little bit more interesting.

  • peter8172

    If I may, I would like to add 2 more sculptures. One is “The Bronco Buster” by Frederic Remington in 1909. And “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” which sits in the Louvre Museum

  • carpinteyroafv


  • I can’t believe you did not include any sculptures by Gianlorenzo Bernini, the great sculptor of all.

  • Batmans mate

    This is all rubbish.

    Look at

  • megan

    u should en clued the names of the artist in the title

  • todd

    What the fuck is up with all the statues flashing their dicks. Lets make this a dick flashing free world