7 Million Statues

There are millions and millions of people in Europe. But, if you were to include all the statues adorning the continent, the population would easily double.

I love statues!  They’re beautiful, exquisite, romantic, and often evocative of another time and era.  They’re frozen in place, though I imagine, every night in the bleakest, darkest of hours, they come to life, swiftly moving around us, and gathering like wisps of ghosts. With gossamer wings, they take flight and have a good laugh at our busy, stressful lives. No doubt, they remember calmer, quieter days.

These statues, made of marble, clay, and stone–no matter where you find them–tell a story through their pose, their garb or lack thereof, and through their countenance—whether smiling, brooding or taciturn. Their very presence can haunt our lives or make them better, thanks to their absolute magnificence. Yet, we can walk right past them, and not notice them for what they truly are: Art. Works of grandeur, bits of history that we can touch, admire, and enjoy.

Ah, beauty!

Maybe I’m drawn to them so, because they’re not as plentiful in the states, as they are in Europe, where you can walk anywhere, at least in the major cities, and see statues everywhere you look. Sure, we have our share of statues in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and the like. But, here in California? Let’s just say, they’re a little harder to find.

Of the 7 million that I estimate are in Europe, I must have seen at least two thousand on my trip this past summer.  These classic sculptures beg to be noticed. They’re ready to charm their way into our lives. Having been tethered to their spot for, maybe, centuries, I guarantee you, they will remain there long after you and I are gone.

Herewith, some of my favorites:

Statues are tortured souls.

Statues are bold and daring.

 

Statues are Roman Gods like Diana, the Huntress.

Statues are composers, like this one of Johann Strauss.

Statues ebb and flow, and dance to their own music.

Statues are winged beasts that defy laws of gravity.

Statues are mischievous and wickedly fun.

Statues are forlorn and pensive.

Statues are playful, and full of cherubic whimsy.

Statues brim with grace and loveliness.

Statues vanquish their foes.

Statues are foreboding and foretelling.

And One More…

…Statues like to shop, too!

So, tell me. What stories do these statues tell you? Any favorites?

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35 thoughts on “7 Million Statues

  1. Hello Monica.

    Statues tell a story, they mark a moment in time, a success or sometimes a failure.

    Many of the stately homes over here have them all round their gardens, I think those who commissioned them wanted to brighten the place up and leave a personal mark for future generations. They were also a sign of wealth as well of course.

    Here in the UK statues are popular in old graveyards the more money people or famlies had the bigger the statue. They are not encouraged these days as many graveyards are reaching capacity.

    I don’t have a favourite amongst your pictures as they each in their own way tell a story. It’s a shame that in many cases history does not record that story.

    Great post Monica, I will have a dig through my photographs and see what statues I have taken pictures of over the years.

    • Thanks, Robert. Your country has plenty of statues, whereas we have a good amount but nowhere near as many as in your neck of the woods. To me, it’s like being able to see art for free. Breathtaking. Thanks for sending your photos of statues. I took about 700 photos on my trip and at least half of the pix I took were of statues. Which is kind of funny when you think how you only found two in your collection. :)

  2. Oh, Monica, this is a fun post! What a great idea. I would never have thought of this, but, gosh, it’s refreshing. I needed this this morning, my friend. I especially got a kick out of the statue that shops! LOL TOO FUNNY!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  3. A post after my own heart, Monica. I love the statues of Diana and Johann Strauss – just gorgeous. I still think about a statue we saw in Lucca, Italy this March. She stood truly divine, serene and seemed to be a healer of sorts. People stopped countless times to fill up their flasks with water and in spite of the pigeons, I drank some, just to see what it was that drew people to the fountain. The water was unbelievable; crisp,clean and pure, so pure, it flowed through me and revived my aching feet. Then there was Greece and I was in mythology heaven. Then David – which I will never forget, and the Roman gods at the Uffizi and the Vatican… I still go over my photos thinking about the gods coming to life. I imagine the gods meeting at the Parthenon and lamenting the lack of human belief and prayer :-)

  4. I haven’t been able to look at statues quite the same since the Weeping Angels episodes of Dr. Who. These are quite beautiful and you’re right they are truly works of art.

  5. Wouldn’t that make a glorious film, all the statues coming to light at midnight, making commentary on humanity with all its foibles. It could be another film like “MIdnight in Paris” where the protagonist (Owen Wilson) walks through Europe with a winking nod to the statues, knowing full well what goes on after hours, wine, song, conviviality, a toast to the future! It could end with a grand tableaux set to a Strauss waltz, the ultimate flash mob.

  6. Wow, I think my favorite here is St. Michael slaying the Devil. I’m partial to angels, you see! It’s probably because of my Catholic faith, where every church is filled with statues. But you don’t have as many statues in California, you said. Wonder why? Is it because your state was relatively late to be settled? The second from the last, with the empty seated robe, is really creepy, don’t you think??

    • Wow, Debbie. Thanks for letting me know about that statue. Have you ever been to Europe and seen all the statues there? There are so many, not only in churches, as we have even here in California, but everywhere you look. You can’t walk more than 10 feet down the street without coming across yet another statue. After being there, California feels pretty barren when it comes to statues. Frankly, all the statues in this country can’t hold a candle to all the statues you’ll find there.

      Of course, we have the biggest statue. That would be the Statue of Liberty!

    • Carl, I imagine when these were created, there were no power tools available. Can you imagine Rodin using power tools? If it had been around there’d probably be twice as many statues around today. ;)

  7. On my very first trip to Europe (college days, summer vacation), I fell in love with a statue (promise not to go Pygmalion on you). I don’t know that I ever realized something could be so perfect and beautifully cast as Michelangelo’s ‘David.’

  8. Hi Monica!
    I haven’t been fortunate enough to see as many statues as I would like, the closest I came to see detailed statues was when I went to Vegas and wandered around many of the shopping extravagances on the Strip. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing these with us.

    • Debra, I hope you make it to Europe. Florence and Paris were among my favorite cities for the best in statues. But really, there are so many to see anywhere you go there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ones they have in Las Vegas are actually replicas of those found in Europe.

  9. Leave it to me to like the second to last – the foreboding and foretelling. Perhaps it is the time of year. But boy could I start writing about that one!

    They’re all gorgeous though. And your pictures are just brilliant.

    • Oh Renee! I really think you should tell a story about that statue. I came across it in Salzburg, tucked away in a corner of a large plaza, which was used in a scene in the Sound of Music. You no doubt remember the scene toward the end, when Maria and the Captain are on their honeymoon, and the children are in town, rehearsing for the festival. That plaza that they were in. That’s where you can find this eerie statue.

  10. I have an admission. I’ve always been a little afraid of statues. They freak me out. Now, I’ve always liked sculptures and the idea of scultpting but I couldn’t follow through it. Some years ago, I was sculpting a small piece and when it started becoming more real, I smashed it back to nothing. I don’t want anything like that looking back at me. I’m okay with the more abstract-looking types.

    • Wow, fascinating your reaction to statues. Though I can see, if I was in a dark mansion at night, filled with statues, and the lights went out and I heard all sorts of noises in the wind, I’d find that freaky. ;)

  11. It is truly amazing. When I was in Europe this spring, I almost took them for granted after a while, there was so many. I had to keep remembering the amount of time they took, but it seemed so unlikely given how many there were. But indeed it is a long history.

    • Jodi, that’s exactly what I mean. I know we have statues in this country, but it’s nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the abundance of statues in Europe. I’m sure each piece takes a long time and a lot of effort, but you’re right. So many, seems like they appeared from nowhere. So amazingly beautiful!

  12. Monica, I’m back! You would not believe the stories I have to tell. I will email you for sure! Statues–I love them! It’s one of the most fascinating aspects of Europe, if you ask me. You can’t walk a couple of feet without encountering one. You have beautifully captured their essence, my friend. And those shots are amazing! The one of Johann Strauss is lovely! I so enjoyed reading this post, amiga! :)

    • Bella, I can’t wait to hear your stories! Americans who’ve never been to Europe can’t imagine the abundance of statues to be found there. They think we have a lot here, but honey, we have just a smidge compared what you find there. It’s as if Europe is one giant museum!

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