A statue is a sculpture in the round representing one or more people or animals (including abstract concepts allegorically represented as people or animals), normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger. Its primary concern is representational.
The definition of a statue is not always clear-cut; equestrian statues, of a person on a horse, are certainly included, and in many cases, such as a Madonna and Child or a Pietà, a sculpture of two people will also be. A small statue, usually small enough to be picked up, is called a statuette or figurine.
Many statues are built on commission to commemorate a historical event, or the life of an influential person. Many statues are intended as public art, exhibited outdoors or in public buildings.
Some statues gain fame in their own right, separate to the person or concept they represent, as with the Statue of Liberty.
Many cultures produced statues, from prehistory to the present. Many statues from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome, in particular, survive, often in museums throughout the world. Ancient statues survive showing the bare surface of the material of which they are made, and people generally associate classical art with white marble sculpture. But there is evidence that many statues were painted in bright colours. Most of the colour was weathered off over time; small remnants were removed during cleaning; in some cases small traces remained which could be identified. A travelling exhibition of 20 coloured replicas of Greek and Roman works, alongside 35 original statues and reliefs, was held in Europe and the United States in 2008: Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity. Details such as whether the paint was applied in one or two coats, how finely the pigments were ground, or exactly which binding medium would have been used in each case—all elements that would affect the appearance of a finished piece—are not known.
Things considered to be wonders of the world include several statues, with the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the Moai of Easter Island considered for inclusion in various lists of wonders of the modern world.
A notion that the position of the hooves of horses in equestrian statues indicated the rider's cause of death has been disproved.
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Famous quotes containing the word statue:
“The mind, in short, works on the data it receives very much as a sculptor works on his block of stone. In a sense the statue stood there from eternity. But there were a thousand different ones beside it, and the sculptor alone is to thank for having extricated this one from the rest.”
—William James (18421910)
“All over France, in every city there stand cathedrals like this one, triumphant monuments of the past. They tower over the homes of our people like mighty guardians, keeping alive the invincible faith of the Christian. Every arch, every column, every statue is a carved leaf out of our history, a book in stone, glorifying the spirit of France.”
—Sonya Levien (18951960)
“Where the statue stood
Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.”
—William Wordsworth (17701850)