Can You Name All 40 Famous Pieces of Sculpture in This Quiz?

HISTORY

Marie Hullett

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Ad Meskens

About This Quiz

Hundreds of years ago, Greek gods and religious iconography largely dominated the art of sculpture, with artists mostly working in bronze or marble. Today, you can find completely abstract creations or larger-than-life surrealist landscapes made with anything, from trash to steel scrap to recycled plastic. While a lot has changed in the evolution of the art, sculpture endures as a way to unify communities, spark conversation and promote public art and freedom of expression. From the grotesque to the astonishingly beautiful, every unique piece serves its purpose in the world. 

Given how ancient the art of sculpture is, there are too many incredible works out there to name. However, there are several hundred which clearly rank among the most well-known (often, for good reason) in history. The following quiz features 40 of such works. So, how much do you know? 

Whether you majored in art history, have visited a number of world-famous museums and galleries, or don't know the difference between "David" and "The Thinker," everyone should try their hand at this test. Are you a novice or basically an art historian? There's only one way to find out! Take a look at the following incredible works to see how much you know. 

Can you identify this tiny piece of ancient art?

Standing just over four inches tall, archaeologists discovered this small piece of art in Austria in 1908. Historians estimate that the piece originated somewhere from about 28,000 to 25,000 B.C. Some historians speculate that she was a fertility goddess; others claim that it's a self-portrait made by a woman; others say it was a masturbatory tool. Really, this Old Stone Age relic is anyone's guess.

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What is the title of this famous Neoclassical sculpture?

Antonio Canova sculpted this work, which depicts the daughters of Zeus, between 1814 and 1817. The daughters (Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia) were thought to symbolize mirth, elegance and youth. The 6th Duke of Bedford, John Russell, first commissioned a version of the work in the early 19th century.

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This is one of the most famous pieces of ancient Greek sculpture. Can you name it?

Historians generally attribute this marble work to Alexandros of Antioch and believe it was crafted some time between 130 and 100 B.C. While some academics think it depicts ancient Grecian sea-goddess Amphitrite, most think it is the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.

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Archaeologists unearthed this stunning sculpture in 1912. Do you know what it's called?

The Bust of Nefertiti dates back to around 1345 B.C. Archeologists found it buried within the Amarna ruins, which was the capital city built by Akhenaten, who is perhaps Ancient Egypt's most divisive Pharaoh. Some historians think Queen Nefertiti ruled his kingdom after Akhenaten's death; others think she was King Tut's mother. Her tomb has never been found.

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Do you think you can guess the title of this 17th century work?

Artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini created this life-sized marble sculpture between 1622 and 1625. Based on the story "Apollo and Daphne" in Ovid's "Metamorphoses," the Baroque work sits in Rome's Galleria Borghese.

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This sculpture was unveiled in 2000. Can you correctly identify it?

Sculptor Chong Fah Cheong created this compelling piece in 2000, which stands near the Cavenagh Bride in Singapore. The scene depicts five boys leaping into the river below, once a typical scene in the area.

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Can you name the ballerina sculpture pictured here?

Edgar Degas began this sculpture of a Belgian student in the Paris Opera Ballet dance school, Marie van Goethem, in 1880. The work was originally crafted in wax and dressed with a real tutu, bodice and ballet slippers; the wig was also real hair. Today, there are 28 bronze repetitions of the statue in museums and galleries all over.

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Do you know what this marble statue by Giambologna is called?

Francesco de' Medici originally commissioned this sculpture in 1562 for a Florence fountain. In 1623, though, it was gifted to Spain and placed in the Palacio de la Ribera in Valladolid. Soon after, Spain gave it to King Charles I. It eventually became one of England's most famous sculptures and is now displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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The artist of this 1st century A.D. work remains unknown, but can you name the title?

In 1775, archeologists discovered this marble statue in Rome. Though it dates back to the first century, historians think it is a replica of an even earlier Greek statue from the 300s B.C. crafted by Timotheos, a Greek sculptor from 4th century B.C. Today, over 24 replicas can be found all over.

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This work stands out from the famous artist's other acclaimed pieces. Do you know the title and sculptor?

Though he's considered one of the central founders of modern sculpture, most of Auguste Rodin's works, including "The Thinker" and "The Burghers of Calais," tend to stick to traditional methods. "The Walking Man," however, which he made in 1877, rejects conventional style in favor of dynamism and impressionism. It remains unfinished to this day.

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Can you name this serpent-entwined trio?

Archaeologists uncovered "Laocoön and His Sons" in 1506, when it was moved to the Vatican, where it remains today. Originating from around 2nd century B.C., the sculpture stems from the myth of a Trojan priest and his sons murdered by angry sea serpents. As legend has it, Poseidon sent the serpents as revenge after Laocoön tried to expose the secret of the Trojan Horse.

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What is the name of this fierce statue?

Often called the "Castle Lion," historians think this bronze casting by an unknown artist was created some time between 1164 and 1176, since that aligns with when Welf duke Henry the Lion resided at Brunswick, Germany. The lion originally sat in the center of the expansive castle complex.

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This is one of the most iconic sculptures of all time. Can you name it?

Made between 1501 and 1504, Michelangelo's "David" was originally commissioned as part of a project to decorate Florence, Italy's famous cathedral, the Duomo. But when Michelangelo's six-ton finished product was too heavy for the cathedral roof, it was instead installed at Florence's town hall, Palazzo Vecchio. The Florentine public immediately embraced the High Renaissance artwork and deemed it an emblem of resistance. Accademia Gallery has been the David's home since 1873.

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This sculpture certainly looks romantic. What's it called?

Commissioned in 1787, this marble sculpture is emblematic of the unfolding Romanticism movement. It depicts the god Cupid tenderly awakening the previously lifeless Psyche with a warm embrace. Artist Antonio Canova adapted the story of "Cupid and Psyche" from Latin writer Lucius Apuleius' novel "The Golden Ass."

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What is the name of this angelic-looking work of art?

Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the "Ecstasy of Saint Teresa" between 1647 and 1652. Considered a formative example of High Roman Baroque style, Bernini made it for the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. Like many Baroques of the period, it possessed ties to the Counter-Reformation movement, in which the Catholic Church attempted to reify its notoriety against the rise of Protestantism. The work features the Spanish nun and mystic Saint Teresa of Ávila, who recounted her meeting with an angel.

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An artist created this lion sculpture in 1820. Do you know what it's called?

Artist Bertel Thorvaldsen designed this rock relief and Lukas Ahorn carved it. The statue memorializes the Swiss Guards who died in the French Revolution. Mark Twain called the sculpture "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

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What is this 18th century work of art called?

Antonio Canova made two versions of this Neo-Classical sculpture between 1757 and 1822. The marble structures depict the Greek hero Perseus and stand at the Vatican in Rome and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's European Sculpture Court.

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This is another famous piece by Michelangelo. Can you correctly identify it?

"The Pietá" features Jesus laid across the lap of Mary post-Crucifixion. Crafted between 1498 and 1499, the statue was originally commissioned for the funeral monument of French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères before it was moved to St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, in the 18th century.

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Do you know the name of this iconic statue?

Picasso's 50-foot tall and 162 ton statue was unveiled in 1967 in Chicago's Daley Plaza. The Cubist sculpture has become a well-known city landmark, and you can often find visitors climbing on it like a jungle gym.

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You've probably seen this one before. Do you know what it's called?

French sculptor Auguste Rodin made 28 life-size versions of the famous bronze sculpture "The Thinker" over the course of his career. Rodin originally made the piece out of plaster in 1881, and it sat at the tympanum at "The Gates of Hell." It was originally called "The Poet" and meant to represent Dante. Today, it is often viewed as a symbol of philosophy.

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Constructed of four steel plates, this piece can be found in Toronto's airport. Can you name it?

Richard Serra was a Post-minimalist artist who resisted traditional Minimalism's use of clean, linear lines. The laws of gravity were integral to Serra's work, and were also likely why a few of his pieces accidentally collapsed. The wall's precarious positioning directly contrasts its stark leadenness.

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Can you identify this monumental work?

Also called "Diana of the Tower," sculptor August Saint-Gaudens formed this copper sheet tower, which represents the Roman goddess Diana, in 1892. Until 1925, it stood atop the tower of Madison Square Garden and served as an iconic New York City monument. Since 1932, it has remained in the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection.

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What do you call this bronze sculpture?

Artist Constantin Brancusi made this piece depicting his lover in 1913, which would soon become an emblem of early-20th century modernist sculpture. His abstract work, which was inspired by folk art from his home of Romania, was considered a pioneering shift to minimalism. His refusal to distinguish between the artwork's base and the object also was deemed groundbreaking.

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Can you pick this famous work from the list?

High Renaissance artist Michelangelo crafted this sculpture from 1513 to 1515. Pope Julius II commissioned the work for his tomb; it now sits in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome.

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This piece remains untitled, but can you guess the artist?

Donald Judd became a pioneering figure in the Minimal Art movement with his streamlined pieces, including this 1991 work located in Jerusalem's Israel Museum. The box was Judd's quintessential form, which he often created with materials adopted from industrial methods.

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Do you think you can identify this 1860s marble sculpture?

"Ugolino and His Sons" depicts Ugolino from Dante's "Inferno." In the epic poem, Ugolino is locked in prison and starved alongside his children and grandchildren. Carpeaux's piece is meant to depict the character at the moment that he debates cannibalism.

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Can you guess the creator and title of this arachnid-inspired sculpture?

French artist Louise Bourgeois created "Spider" in 1996 at the age of 85. She made several versions of the granite and bronze sculptures, which were made in tribute to her mother, who was a tapestry restorer. Like spiders' webs, such work requires the winding of thread.

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This piece is one of many a famous Colombian artist created that depicts oversized animals. Can you name it?

Fernando Botero created the first "Bird of Peace" sculpture in 1994, which was installed in the heart of Medellin, Colombia. During a concert in 1995, though, the sculpture blew up during a devastating attack that killed 23 people and injured many more. In 2000, the artist created an identical bird next to the remnants of the original as a message of peace and solidarity with the victims, their families, and the culture as a whole.

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Can you successfully name the title and artist of the abstract piece pictured here?

English artist Henry Moore's "Large Reclining Figure" was commissioned by Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation in 1984. His original sculpture, "Reclining Figure 1938," is quite small, measuring about six by 13 inches. "Large Reclining Figure," shown here, measures 30 feet in length and is the largest of Moore's abstract human figure sculptures.

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This incredible sculpture stands on Longshan Mountain in Jiangsu Province, China. Do you know what it's called?

The Grand Buddha, a bronze statue weighing over 700 tons and reaching nearly 300 feet high, is among the largest Buddha statues in the world. Artists and craftspeople completed the structure in 1996.

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Can you correctly name this revolutionary work?

Made in 1913, "Bicycle Wheel" is the first of Duchamp's renowned "readymades." Featuring a bicycle wheel attached to a kitchen stool, Duchamp maintained that traditional sculpture methods seemed meaningless in the era of mass factory-made goods. Duchamp's work is considered one of the earliest examples of Conceptual Art.

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Can you name the title and artist of this piece located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?

American figurative sculptor Zenos Frudakis (shown here) created this inspiring work in 2001. Crafted from bronze, Frudakis said he hoped to "create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free."

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This piece was created in 1895. Which one of these choices is it?

"The Bronco Buster" is American artist Frederic Remington's first and most famous work. He based the work upon several former sketches he made, including one for a piece on Theodore Roosevelt called "The Home Ranch" in "Century Magazine."

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Can you pick out the name of this iconic monument?

Created by Artist Anish Kapoor (shown here) and nicknamed "The Bean" by locals in the city of Chicago where it resides, this piece of public art is made from mirrored steel that creates a funhouse-like effect. Located in Second City's Millennium Park, it frequently attracts large crowds of eager selfie-snappers.

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This artwork can be found at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Can you name it?

Alexander Calder created this depiction of acrobats out of brass wire models and wood in 1928. The piece is one of several Calder made depicting contortionists, acrobats, sword eaters, lion tamers and more. While living in Paris, Calder attempted to perform live acts borrowed from some of these pieces.

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Do you know who sculpted this famous work?

While French artist Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" receives more popular attention, his "The Burghers of Calais" remains seminal to the history of sculpture. Commissioned for a park in Calais, the monument is viewed as one of the earliest shifts toward realism in sculpture. Rather than featuring the men on a pedestal, he displayed them at ground level. The work depicts six French elders who volunteered themselves for execution to save their people during the English siege in the Hundred Years' War.

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This is a memorial located in Budapest, Hungary. Do you know its name?

Film director Can Togay created this sculpture to honor the lives of the Jewish people killed by the far-right Hungarian group, Arrow Cross, during World War II. In the tragic incident, the militia commanded the people to remove their shoes and were shot at the edge of the river, which their bodies fell into.

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This piece was made in 1970 as a rebellion of art galleries' commercialism. What is it called?

Robert Smithson was a key figure in the revolt against art's commercialism with pieces like this one, which is located on Utah's Great Salt Lake. Dubbed "land art," Smithson's site-specific works rely largely on materials taken directly from the surrounding earth. "Spiral Jetty" was submerged for decades, until a drought caused it to resurface in the early 2000s. It remains visible today.

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Can you correctly identify this 1917 artwork?

"Fountain" is another one of Duchamp's famous readymade sculptures. The piece features a porcelain urinal with the signature "R. Mutt." Duchamp originally paid to submit it to New York's Society of Independent Artists exhibition. The committee rules stated that it could not reject any artwork, but they never placed it in the main show area.

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An American artist crafted this work in 1956. Which one of these is it?

Calder's "Red Mobile," which is constructed from painted sheet metal and rods, is currently on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The avant-garde work strongly contrasted other sculptures of the time due its freedom of movement. Calder's friend and fellow artist Marcel Duchamp allegedly gave the piece its name.

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