Sculpture has a long and interesting history that is often thought to be closely linked to memorialising the life and achievements of an individual after their passing.
In fact, the ancient Egyptians were famed for their intricate sculpture that was often astonishingly lifelike. These pieces of art were believed to allow the spirit of a noble or pharaoh to return after death, which is often why they were placed in tombs or atop sarcophaguses.
Similarly, Greek sculpture was used to honour the gods and goddesses, as well as reflect the great changes in the world through depicting the unique phases of life. The style of Greek sculpture continues to influence classical artists today, highlighting how important and enduring these sculptural themes are.
Even today, sculpture is inherently linked with life experiences, beauty and emotion. While the form and method of sculpting has drastically changed over time, the fundamentals of reflecting life remain constant.
It’s perhaps for that reason why we are so often drawn to sculpture. From beautifully carved headstones that memorialise a loved one to dramatic expressions of public art, contemporary sculpture continues to reflect and represent our experiences.
Viewing sculpture can often be a great way to help us celebrate and contemplate. If you’re looking for famous sculptures to help you do just that, we have put together some of our favourite Birmingham sculptures that are thoughtful, expertly crafted and experiential in their composition.
1.The Guardian, Birmingham City Centre
More commonly known as The Bull, The Guardian sits proudly outside the Bullring shopping centre. Widely regarded as one of the best Birmingham sculptures, The Guardian was created by Laurence Broderick. Erected in 2003, the six-tonne structure was recently named as one of the world’s best examples of public art.
It is thought that The Guardian symbolises the power and strength of the city, as well as functioning as a reflection of the determination, movement and pride that the UK’s second city is known for. It is also more directly symbolic of the city’s history as a town of commerce. The Bullring shopping centre location has a long history as a marketplace, with bulls being a commonly traded animal in this area many years ago.
It was cast in bronze and has become one of the most loved features of the city centre. Thousands of visitors flock to see the sculpture throughout the year, and it’s thought to be one of the most photographed landmarks in the United Kingdom (up there with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament).