With my feet firmly in the art world for a couple of days, let me be your tour guide around this big old world of clever artists throughout history. A few years ago, hubby and I donned a large backpack and a small one and spent 5 months jetting around the globe. These are some of my favourite art pieces that we found. Enjoy!

Egypt

Ah yes the great Sphinx, or the Spinx as our American tour buddies called it. An incredible sculpture/statue, the Sphinx was used as a symbol of sun worship by the Egyptians. No one knows exactly who built it but most agree Pharaoh Khafre had something to do with it between 2558–2532 BC. Whatever the history, it is still an incredible thing to behold, quite incredible.

This is the Great King Tutankhamun and his lady friend sitting in the grounds of Luxor Temple. Note their noses. Like many Egyptian statues these have their snouts disposed of by their enemies. The ancients believed the nose was a passage for the soul to go to some kind of heaven, so one way to make sure they rotted in hell was to slice off their noses. Not sure how it worked with statues though.

Spain

If you ever find yourself in beautiful Barcelona, don’t miss the drippy castle church, Sagrada Familia.  Antoni Gaudi (who IS Barcelona) redesigned and built only a quarter of the building when he died in 1926. The rest of the building (shown above) is a smoother, less interesting but still intriguing style which sits in complete contrast to the ideas of Gaudi. He must be turning in his grave. But for us tourists, it’s a unique building indeed.

This is another Gaudi creation, found in the grounds of Park Güell, nestled on the side of a hill in Barcelona. I tell you, the man must have loved smashing tiles because the park is littered with mosaics like the one above. You could spend a whole day here basking in the artistic genius of this man! There’s nothing like it.

Florence
This very bad photo shows a statue near the River Arno. The man cradles a victim of war whilst pointing a gun. We were here when the Iraq War was in its early days and there were many protests going on around Europe. If you look carefully you may see a rainbow coloured flag with the word ‘pace’ on it, meaning peace. The irony was not lost on us!

Every year on Easter Sunday, the Catholic powers that be bring out this magnificent cart. Ok so it’s not a sculpture but it is a work of art. And it explodes… in the daytime… with fireworks! You should see those performers cough. It is a sight to behold and I was mighty glad the thing didn’t burn down because it is beautiful.

Pompeii


A little bit controversial but this is one of those famous plaster casts of a Pompeii victim. In 79AD, old Pompeii town was devastated by the worst volcanic eruptions of all time. The people who were left we overcome by toxic fumes and had no choice but to wait it out, with devastating results. This is a sombre piece that helps us empathise with the victims of this horrible natural disaster. And that’s my justification for including it!

Ireland


This is one of the most beautiful sculptures I have ever seen. It depicts a woman waiting for her man to return from the sea. He never returns. It is so full of yearning and despair. We found this in a remote place near Rosses Point in County Sligo. The plaque of statue titled Waiting on Shore reads:

“Lost at sea, lost at sea
Or in the evening tide
We loved you, we miss you
May God be with you abide”.

There are many monuments to the great potato famine in Ireland but this is the best! It sits at the base of Croagh Patrick, the mountain where St Patrick is said to have fasted and prayed for 40 days which resulted in the banishment of snakes from the green, green shores of Ireland. The National Famine Monument (otherwise known as the Coffin Ship) depicts a ship bearing desperate souls who died leaving the famine ravished Ireland behind for the golden shores of America.

Hawaii


Duke Kahanamoku, the first man of surfing. The Olympian, lifeguard, film star and worldwide surfing legend… yup Hawaii loves the guy! He was the first person to bring surfing to Australia, so I guess he’s up there in the land of Oz as well. Don’t you love the fresh(ish) flowers looped over his arm, as if he’s alive! Grand old Duke!

And that is my little whip around the arty, sculpture-ridden landscape of the globe that I have seen. Feel free to share your own photos or experiences of great works by great people throughout history and the world.

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