Curious, Compelling, And Captivating Sculptures That Feel Alive

An interesting or beautiful piece of art is something that simply cannot be ignored. Whether it’s a painting or a statue, there are certain pieces that just make us stop and look. Public sculptures, for example, bring so much joy to tourists and give a reason for locals to smile. Some are literally built to be interacted with, often making them a must-see on any tourism brochure. Then there are others that are designed to reach the viewers’ hearts and minds.

No matter the intention, artists always strive to create something memorable that will live on for years or decades to come. To honor and show our appreciation for some of those brilliant minds, we’ve put together a list of some of the most interesting and downright stunning sculptures found around the globe. Have you visited any of these yourself? Were they as awe-inspiring in person?

Living Inside Art

It’s cool enough to interact with art by touching its hand, but to go inside is on a whole different level. This 16th-century sculpture standing at 35 feet tall is located in Florence, Italy, and has a few rooms inside for visitors to explore. 

Flickr/Stephen H

The piece is called Gigante dell’Appennino and was created in the late 1500s by the artist, Giambologna. It looks like a giant heroic mountain god is placed there protecting the surrounding villages. If you ever get the chance to see this giant in person, seize the day and go visit him. 

Mother Nature Fights Back

The Force of Nature by Lorenzo Quinn is a sculpture with a serious message, and it’s executed with style and grace. The coasts of Thailand, where the sculpture is set up, frequently face natural disasters, such as hurricanes. These storms are devastating to the people that live there.

Erika Cristina Manno/Shutterstock

In ancient times, humans didn’t know that these house-leveling storms were acts of Mother Nature. The artist shared that he drew inspiration from those old cultures that used statues to appease the deities who were believed to have dominion over the storms.

Always Raining

This sculpture, Rain, is by a Ukrainian artist, Nazar Bilyk. To simulate the image of a giant raindrop on a man’s face, the artist molded glass to sit atop the bronze statue. The sculpture is one of ten in a series found in Peysazhna Alley (Landscape Alley) at Kiev Fashion Park.

Nazar Bilyk

The interpretation is up to you, but the artist says it’s about a man and his inner dialogue, with the glass raindrop resembling that dialogue and how it connects him with a whole diversity of other life forms. We simply love the simplicity of this complicated subject expressed the way it is. 


Artist Alexander Milov made this sculpture titled Love, and we couldn’t think of a better name for it. The purest form of love is that of an innocent child, unaware of anything else other than those whom they love and the things they enjoy. 


You can see two illuminated children caged in the bodies of adults, who may appear sad, disappointed, or even angry at each other. Yet, deep down, as symbolized by the children, there is an innocent and basic sense of love between the two grown-ups. How stunning!

Working in Dimensions

We absolutely love it when sculptures look like they’re below the surface, coming up in a slow, deliberate way. The Caring Hand in Switzerland is a perfect example of that, as it looks like this is a massive sculpture peeking up from underground.


It’s not a giant hand holding a tree, but in fact, the innovative artist simply placed a few separate pieces of stone around the tree to trick your eyes into believing it extends underground. A very clever sculpture with a beautiful gesture and message about caring for nature.

Sculpture Overboard

This bronze sculpture is a great work of art and is filled with irony and contradiction. Let’s explain. Bronze is a heavy material that will not easily get pulled out of the water, yet the figure seems to be able to escape the force of gravity. 


Then, if you look closer you’ll see there is no figure, which might explain the weightlessness this sculpture has. Still, the silhouette of the figure remains, and you can even see its hands and feet passing through solid surfaces. We’re in love with this piece. 

Man from Nature

What do you see first in this picture — the trees bending slightly in the wind or a face of a man colored in by the sunset in the background? Art is meant to be interpreted by the viewer, but some pieces, like this one, are constructed with only two variations.


Although, unless you’re standing at a specific spot, you won’t see the face of the man, and probably just a glimpse of the trees. It’s a sculpture that forces you to stop and move to a specific angle in order to appreciate it properly.


The artist behind this amazing piece is Zenos Frudakis. When creating this piece, they pulled from their own experiences of what it feels like to be a captive by your own feelings, and how freeing it feels to break those bonds. 

Zenos Frudakis

Depending on how you look at it, it could be the heartbreaking story of only one man escaping, or it could simply be snapshots of the same man’s journey. This is a lesson we hear often, don’t try to fit in; stand out!

Wild Wild Horses

Even when it is silent and calm in Irving, Texas, you can’t help but feel alive when you pass by these sculptures of horses running through water. One can’t help but wonder where they are going, and that’s the point Robert Glen was trying to convey.

Robert Glen

The piece is called Mustangs, and the fountain they are running through is designed to help with the movement the artist wanted to portray in the piece. By having smaller water bursts close to the horse’s feet, it makes it seem like they’re actually splashing through the water as they run.

Here He Is!

Popped Up is the name of this gigantic sculpture and it is located at Széchenyi Square in Budapest, Hungary. It interacts with its surroundings by making it look like a giant is escaping the perfectly mowed lawn and ready to fight.

Art Market Budapest

Was this giant rudely awoken from a cozy nap, or is he simply itching to get some fresh air? Either way, we hope the gardeners have some serious guts and tools to mow that uneven lawn the giant has created.

Stairway to Heaven

We love optical illusion sculptures. While 2D optical illusions are cool, there’s something about the 3D nature of the piece that really forces you to think. Aside from the dizzying nature of them, we can’t help but wonder just how the sculpture was created.

My Modern Met

They say the way to heaven is a long set of stairs, which is what this Australian artist made it seem like, without actually building a never-ending staircase. We wonder if fans of Led Zeppelin come here often so they can play his iconic hit as they enjoy the art.


Jason de Caires Taylor in Grenada, West Indies made this heart-wrenching sculpture called Vicissitudes and placed it where many enslaved people died on their way from Africa to America. It is a massive piece depicting the enslaved captives holding hands. 

Jason deCaries Taylor

Because the only people they could trust were each other, he made sure to construct them all holding hads, as if to say they’re “stronger together.” It is also fitting that their strength and unity are enough to weather the ocean’s fierce currents.

Blown Away

We’re blown away by this piece of beautiful art — it’s certainly much better than our puns. It must have been difficult for the artist to create the sensation of movement in the dandelion the giant fairy is holding. This artist has some incredible talent. 


Robin Wight, a UK-based artist, is the brilliant mind behind this masterpiece. The sculpture is made from a variety of metals, and the intricate details such as the hair of the fairy blowing in the wind are very well executed. 

Vandalism Wins

The Sower in Kaunas, Lithuania might not seem striking during the day, but at night when the shadow of the sculpture hits the wall behind it in just the right way, you see the man sowing some stars. It seems truly magical.


But, apparently, the stars were not part of the artist’s design. That credit goes to a local vandal. While we don’t ever encourage vandalism of public property, we can’t help but admire the creative upgrade someone gave to this statue.

Sinking Knowledge

Depending on your generation, educational background, and even your opinion of smartphones, this statue could hold a whole different meaning. Some would say that libraries are defunct because of the internet, but we wholeheartedly disagree. We think they’re more important than ever!

The reason this library is sinking is left entirely up to the viewer. Is it because people don’t read books anymore? Or is it because of the weight of power held within a single building? Or, perhaps Wan Shi Tong finally reclaimed his library.


To make a 1320-ton statue seem like it is flowing in the wind is a task on its own. The artist of this piece did a tremendous job of making this sculpture seem like it’s moving. And indeed it was moving, both literally and figuratively.

SifaV6/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

Erected in 2016, the statue of Guan Yu is stunning but wasn’t well executed. For starters, the land was beginning to skin under its weight. For a variety of reasons, including permits and regulations, the statue was moved to a nearby location.

What Protects You, Destroys You

You can simply look at this sculpture and admire it for its beauty, or you can spend hours interpreting it and finding the hidden lesson and meaning behind it. To us, as so many others, it looks like a man holding an umbrella. 

Flickr/Fulvio Petri

But of course, the man is not holding an umbrella, merely a fountain of water. It’s only from a distance that the arcing water looks like an umbrella. That’s the irony in this sculpture — what seems to be protecting the man from the rain….is actually the rain!

Hungry Hungry Hippos

We hate to break it to you, but real hippos are nothing like the children’s game. Sort of. They’re indeed very hungry, but they’re not as calm as the plastic toy. And they’re certainly not as cute, especially if you get on their bad side.

Patche99z/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

Sure, they won’t bother you unless you bother them, but did you know hippos are one of the most dangerous animals and they can easily outrun you? Yeah, this interaction with hippos is going to be your safest bet since you can be sure no statue has ever outrun a human or eaten one for lunch.

Missing Pieces

When we depart from our loved ones for a long time, be it weeks or months, it feels like there’s a piece of us missing. It’s only when we return home that we find a piece of our heart left within them, and it’s only when we’re reunited that we feel whole.

Bruno Catalano

We can’t even imagine how early immigrants felt. We don’t appreciate just how fortunate we are to have technology that allows us to stay in touch with our homes and our hearts. We also appreciate the artist’s skill; he made the sculpture seem like two unconnected pieces.

Heavy Burden

Destroying Mother Nature is the worst thing any species can do. We owe our lives to her and should only take what we need and give back to keep the ecosystem healthy and flowing. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and one artist took that heavy emotion and materialized it.

Underwater Sculpture

This statue is made from special materials; it allows coral to attach itself to it, possibly assisting in reviving the local ecosystem. Now when you look at the sculpture itself, you’ll see a child, our future generation, carrying the weight of the ocean on her shoulders. Powerful. 

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