S2 Top 50 Sculptors B

Forward to S3 – Sculptors – Forward to A1 – Artists
Back to 1.9 ultcult Charts – Back to S1 – Sculptors – Back to 1 Art and Sculpture Index

Tori Busshi
Benedictine monks
Master Mateo

Quellinus the Elder

Note that to minimise the entries and the opportunity for confusion, the text and image sources are not shown here – do follow the links to the sculptors or their works and you will find a proper acknowledgement of the sources.

The Asuka-dera is one of the oldest temples in Japan. Located here is this Daibutsu statue, the oldest known sculpture of Buddha in Japan which has an exact date of creation.

The sculpture was made by Tori Busshi, son of a Korean immigrant.

The Shaka triad is by Tori Busshi. It is located in the Kondō of the Hōryū-ji temple at Ikaruga, Nara. The gilt bronze sculpture dates from 623 CE and is considered to be Tori’s masterpiece.

The sculpture features a Buddha figure seated on a rectangular dais. The robes flow down the front of the platform and his head is surrounded by a flaming halo, in which are seated the Seven Buddhas of the Past.

Tori Busshi 止利仏師
aka Kuratsukuri-no-Tori
late 6th-early 7th c CE

Daibutsu at the Asuka dera
(609 CE)

Shaka triad or Buddha Shaka and Attendant Bodhisattvas

Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silosa

Reliefs at Santo Domingo de Silosa
(1050 CE)
Santo Domingo de Silosa, a village in northern Spain, has a Benedictine monastery dating back to the Visigoths.

It has some remarkable reliefs dating to c1050 and created by members of the monastery.

The top relief is from a pier and depictsThe Ascension and Pentecost.

The lower relief is from the cloisters and shows Doubting Thomas.

Pórtico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which includes the date, April 1, 1188.

This Romanesque temple had been begun around 1075, but it was largely defined by Master Mateo between the years 1168 and 1211.

The Pórtico was part of an initiative to deal with a slope in the terrain.

The top image shows the Pórtico, the middle image is a detail of some of the figures.

The lower image depicts Master Mateo at the feet of the Portico of Glory, in an early Hitchcock-esque guest appearance.

Master Mateo
opearting 1168-1188

Pórtico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

aka Cenni de Pepo

Byzantine Crucifix

The Byzantine Cross had outwardly widening ends originally created by Cimabue in 1288. It was adopted by other Christian cultures of the time, such as the Franks and Goths.

This wooden image is the Crucifix of Pisa. The other striking element of the Byzantine Crucifix is the figure of Christ. He is not hanging from the cross, not a corpse. Instead he is shown as God radiating the hope of the Resurrection. It does not show death by crucifixion, it instead depicts the nobility of eternal life.

Donatello was commissioned by the linen weavers’ guild to complete three pieces for the Orsanmichele church, Florence. St. Mark was the first of his contributions and was originally to be placed in an exterior niche at the church, it is now inside the church’s museum.

David is the title of two Donatello statues of the biblical hero David. The earlier work was a clothed figure in marble, dated to 1408–09. This is the more famous bronze figure, nude except for helmet and boots. It is the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity.

The Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata is a sculpture by Donatello, today it is located in the Piazza del Santo in Padua, Italy. It portrays the Renaissance condottiero Erasmo da Narni, known as ‘Gattamelata, who served mostly under the Republic of Venice, which ruled Padua at the time.
After Gattamelata’s death in 1443, some sources suggest that the Republic of Venice, as a sign of gratitude and respect, paid for this sculpture in his honour, others dispute this. It is the earliest extant Renaissance equestrian statue and the first to reintroduce the grandeur of Classical equestrian portraiture.

The Penitent Magdalene is a wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalene by Donatello. The sculpture was probably commissioned for the Baptistery of Florence. The white poplar wooden piece was received with astonishment for its unprecedented realism.

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi c1386-1466

St Mark


Equestrian Statue of the Gattamelata

The Penitent Magdalene

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Gates of Paradise

These bronze doors were produced for the Florence Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

It was Michelangelo who called them the Gates of Paradise. Ghiberti was trained as a goldsmith and sculptor, and established a workshop for sculpture in metal.

His book, Commentarii, may be the earliest surviving autobiography by any artist.

The ten panels depict various Old Testament Bible stories. The left door top to bottom has Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The right door has Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon.
A Pietà is an image of Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, often called a Lamentation in paintings. Michelangelo’s Mary is markedly youthful.

When Michelangelo learned that many were attributing the work to another sculptor, uniqely for him, he signed it ‘Michelangelo Buonarroti the Florentine did it.’

David, a Renaissance masterpiece, avoided the norm of showing David after Goliath’s defeat, usually including a grisly head. Here he is shown prior to the encounter, his face suggests he is contemplating his approach, the pebble in his right hand and the sling ready. It soon became a symbol for the Florentine Republic, threatened by powerful rivals, his eyes staring towards Rome. The sling on his left shoulder and the tree stump behind his right leg were originally gold-leafed.

Michelangelo sculpted four slaves for the tomb of Pope Julius II. These are in the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.

They are unfinished because Michelangelo moved off to paint the Sistine Chapel. But the works are still powerful. This Dying Slave is in the Louvre.

The Risen Christ was commissioned by Metello Vari, a Roman patrician. His aunt had obligated her heirs to build a chapel dedicated to her at the church. He specified only that the nude Christ should be holding the Cross.

Work was delayed when Michelangelo discovered a black vein in the original marble block and had to start afresh with a new block. However Vari took the rough unfinished first version for use in his garden. It was later finished by another artist. Known as the Giustiniani Christ, the black vein is clearly visible on Christ’s face. It remained outside Rome through occupation by Napoleon and WWII Germans, neither of them considered looting it.

Now under pressure to meet the commission’s deadline, Michelangelo entrusted some of the work to an apprentice, who damaged the work, and was quickly replaced.

Michelangelo Buonarroti



Dying Slave

The Risen Christ


Appenine Colossus

Samson Slaying a Philistine

Rape of the Sabine Women

Hercules and the Centaur Nessus

The brooding sculpture of ‘Appennino’, aka the Appenine Colossus, sculpted by Giambologna. It originally seemed to emerge from the rockwork niche that once surrounded him, imitating rugged Nature.

Samson Slaying a Philistine was carved by Giambologna, a Flemish sculptor who worked for the Medici family in Florence. He was commissioned by Prince Francesco de’ Medici, the second Grand Duke of Tuscany, to make this larger-than-life-size piece. The earliest of the great marble groups by Giambologna, it originally formed the top element of a fountain for the Giardino dei Semplici, the Medicis’ botanical gardens.

The Rape of the Sabine Women was carved from a single block of stone, this powerful marble sculpture by Giambologna, is surely one of the finest works in the history of sculpture. Regarded as a technical as well as a creative masterpiece, the statue combines the classical nude forms of Greek sculpture with the dynamism of Mannerism. It perfectly expresses the deep uncertainties of the late 16th century, in complete contrast to the calm confidence exuded by the High Renaissance statue of David carved by Michelangelo. In their different ways, these two works represent the very best of Renaissance sculpture of the cinquecento.

The marble group of Hercules and the Centaur Nessus, was carved, impressively, from a single block of marble by Giambologna. It sat in the open-air gallery Loggia dei Lanzi on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

Showing an advanced understanding of anatomy – visible in Hercules’ rib cage, showing through his taut skin and the veined legs of the centaur, poised in battle – Giambologna’s statue is a powerful evocation of the strength of mortal man.
The earliest surviving piece by Benveneto Cellini is a bronze lunette for the Porte Dorée at Fontainebleau. The relief, the only extant part of his portal decoration, illustrates a variant of the legend of Fontainebleau – a hunting dog discovered a spring and its goddess in the forest, from a lost fresco by Rosso.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa is a bronze sculpture that stands on a square base which has bronze relief panels depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda, similar to a predella on an altarpiece.

It was placed in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence and revealed to the public on 27 April 1554, where Michelangelo‘s David, Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus, and Donatello‘s Judith and Holofernes were already installed.

Benvenito Cellini
1500 – 1571

Nymph of Fontainebleau

Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Apollo and Daphne

Ecstasy of St Teresa

Bust of Louis XIV

Apollo and Daphne is a marble sculpture in the Baroque style in natural size, and created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It depicts the culmination of the history of Apollo and Daphne in Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
The sculpture was the last of a series of works commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese at the very beginning of Bernini’s career.

The Ecstacy of St Teresa (Teresa of Ávila) is the central sculptural group in white marble set in an elevated aedicule in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. It was designed and completed by Bernini, the leading sculptor of his day, who also designed the setting of the Chapel in marble, stucco and paint. It is generally considered to be one of the sculptural masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque.

The Bust of Louis XIV is a marble portrait by the Italian artist Bernini. It was created in the year 1665 during Bernini’s visit to Paris.

This sculptural portrait of Louis XIV of France has been called the ‘grandest piece of portraiture of the baroque age’.
In assuming power, the mayors of Amsterdam were inspired by the ancient Roman Republic. This is powerfully expressed in this imposing portrait Bust of Andries de Graeff. by Artus Quellinus the Elder.

With his cloak wrapped to resemble a Classical toga, the mayor had himself immortalized in marble in the guise of a Roman consul, as is suggested by the letters ‘COS’ (the abbreviation for a consul in ancient Rome) following his name on the pedestal.

Artus Quellinus the Elder

Bust of Andries de Graeff

Pierre Puget
[Portrait by his son
François Puget]

Milo of Crotona

Milo of Crotona (or Milon) was a legendary Greek wrestler from the Greek settlement of Croton in southern Italy. He won the wrestling contest at five successive Olympic Games, and swept the board at all other festivals.
A man of huge stature, he boasted that no one had ever brought him to his knees. It is said that he carried a live ox upon his shoulders through the stadium at Olympia, then ate it all in a single day.

The Pierre Puget statue shows his unfortunate end.
The exceptional beauty of this child, the fruit of an incestuous union engineered by the insulted Aphrodite, caused an argument among the gods that could only end in his death. He was killed by a boar while hunting.

In devoting one of his chief works, Death of Adonis, to that fatal incident, Giuseppe Mazzuoli expressed in a typically Baroque depiction of a dramatic moment the idea of the transience of beauty.

Giuseppe Mazzuoli
(Image is not him , it is a detail from his St Philip)

Death of Adonis

Guillaume Coustou
(Portrait by Jacques-François Delyen)

Horse restrained by grooms, the Marly horses

A member of a French dynasty of sculptors, Guillaume Coustou studied at the French Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and in Rome. He returned to France where his exceptional talents were employed by King Louis XIV.

Coustou is best known for his two pieces of marble sculpture, each called Horse restrained by a Groom, known jointly as the Marly Horses. Originally created for the royal chateau at Marly, then relocated to the Place de la Concorde before settling finally at the Louvre.

These powerful statues exude equestrian elegance and power. They are among the most enduring images of energetic Baroque art of the early eighteenth century.
Among the sculptors of France in the 1700s, Jean-Baptiste Pigalle achieved unprecedented honours and wealth. Pigalle’s beginnings, however, were humble. Like many French artists, Pigalle traveled to Rome, but this young sculptor came from a family of artisans so he paid his own way there.

After studying in Rome for five years, Pigalle returned to France in 1740 where he conceived the model for his most well known sculpture, a seated statue of Mercury (Mercury attaching his wings). This graceful and animated rendering was an immediate success.

Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Mercury attaching his wings

Antonio Canova
(Self portrait)

Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss


Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Venus Victrix (Pauline Bonaparte)

Cupid’s mother Venus, the goddess of Beauty, demanded this girl, Psyche, to bring back a flask from the Underworld, forbidding her to open it. But Psyche’s curiosity got the better of her; and no sooner had she breathed in the terrible fumes she fell into a deep, deathlike sleep. Seeing her lying motionless, Cupid rushed to her and touched her gently with the tip of his arrow, to make sure she was not dead. This is the moment captured by Antonio Canova.

One of Canova’s most famous sculptures is of Hebe, a daughter borne to Greek gods Zeus and Hera. Greek mythology has Hebe representing youth. Her role was to bring cups of nectar and ambrosia to provide everlasting youth and eternal life at feasts and events such as the Olympics.

This Perseus, purchased by Countess Valeria Tarnowska of Poland, is a replica of Canova’s famed marble of Perseus in the Vatican, conceived about 1790 and first shown in 1801. Based freely on the Apollo Belvedere, which had been carried off to Paris under Napoleon, it was bought by Pope Pius VII and placed upon the pedestal where the Apollo had formerly stood.

Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix (Venus Victorious) is a semi-nude life-size neo-Classical portrait sculpture by Canova. It was commissioned by Pauline Bonaparte’s husband Camillo Borghese and executed in Rome from 1805 to 1808, after she married the representative of the Borghese family.
The Walking Man displays not only Auguste Rodin’s fascination with partial figures, reminiscent of antique sculptural fragments, but also his interest in the sculptural representation of the human body in sequential motion. By showing both feet planted firmly on the ground, the sculptor attempted to record not a realistic depiction of a man walking, but instead the movements at the beginning and at the end of his step, producing the impression of a movement which, in fact, takes several moments to accomplish.

When conceived in 1880 in its original size (approx. 70 cm) as the crowning element of The Gates of Hell, seated on the tympanum, The Thinker was entitled The Poet. He represented Dante, author of the Divine Comedy which had inspired The Gates, leaning forward to observe the circles of Hell, while meditating on his work.

The Thinker was therefore initially both a being with a tortured body, almost a damned soul, and a free-thinking man, determined to transcend his suffering through poetry.

The Burghers of Calais is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin in twelve original castings and numerous copies.
It commemorates an event during the Hundred Years’ War, when Calais, a French port on the English Channel, surrendered to the English after an eleven-month siege. The city commissioned Rodin to create the sculpture in 1884 and the work was completed in 1889.

The Kiss originally represented Paolo and Francesca, two characters borrowed, once again, from Dante’s Divine Comedy: slain by Francesca’s husband who surprised them as they exchanged their first kiss. The two lovers were condemned to wander eternally through Hell.

Auguste Rodin

Walking Man

The Thinker

The Burghers of Calais

The Kiss

The subject of this intensely Romantic work is derived from canto XXXIII of Dante’s Inferno, which describes how the Pisan traitor Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, his sons, and his grandsons were imprisoned in 1288 and died of starvation.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s visionary statue reflects the artist’s passionate reverence for Michelangelo, specifically for The Last Judgment (1536–41) in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican, Rome, as well as his own painstaking concern with anatomical realism.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Ugolino and his Sons

Note that to minimise the entries and the opportunity for confusion, the text and image sources are not shown here – do follow the links to the sculptors or their works and you will find a proper acknowledgement of the sources.

Forward to S3 – Sculptors – Forward to A1 – Artists
Back to 1.9 ultcult Charts – Back to S1 – Sculptors – Back to 1 Art and Sculpture Index

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *