10 Art Masterpieces That Will Blow Your Mind!
Over the years, the world has seen countless masterpieces of art. Some of its creators rose to fame, some remained anonymous. While it is certainly daunting to decide the best of the lot, we can always have favourites!
Here are 10 masterpieces that will blow your mind, and most definitely deserve a dekko
Article Credit: Sarah Merchant
#1 Fasting Buddha
Location: Lahore Museum, Pakistan
Sculptures of Buddha are showcased worldwide, but this particular statue will make you appreciate art a little bit more. The statue immortalizes the time when Price Siddhartha tried experimenting with the extremes to accomplish his goal of enlightenment. One such time was when he decided to starve himself till his body was reduced to skin and bones. The sculptors from Gandhara region have recorded this struggle in the form of sculptures that portray Buddha at the peak of his ascetic phase. Commonly referred as ‘Fasting Buddha’, Lahore houses one of the greatest art pieces ever made! Celebrated for its mesmerizing appeal and hollow eyes, this finely sculpted block of schist was carved in the 2nd century AD, and was excavated in the late 19th century. At present, this ‘Fasting Buddha’ is considered as one of the rarest antiques of the earliest world.
#2 Easter Island Statues
The mystery of Easter Islands has intrigued and confused people for years. Scientists have dedicated their lives trying to uncover this secret. While some of the theories and conspiracies have been solved, dozens remain unanswered. The mystery circles around giant statues carved out of volcanic rock that appeared on a remote Chilean island situated in the middle of nowhere. As a matter of fact, the nearest inhabited area is over 200km away. Known as Ahu Akivi, these Moai statues dot the coastline with their backs to the ocean. However, seven of them face the ocean to help travellers find the island. Trademarked with large heads displaying an angry or glum expression, these statues weighs several tonnes, and are more than 30 feet tall! Legend has it that over 1200 years ago, seafarers belonging to a different culture sailed to this island and carved out 887 statues. But why did they spend their time carving these statues? What happened to those people? Did the seafarers get help from aliens? Only if the Easter Island statues could talk and rid the world of their unnerving mystery.
#3 Terracotta Warriors
Location: Shaanxi, China
The Chinese farmers were in for a surprise when they unearthed the priceless collection of Terracotta artefacts, while digging a well in the year 1947. Today, thousands of life-size figures have been excavated, restored and lined in three different vaults for tourists. These figurines include models of soldiers, courtiers, horses and bronze chariots that represent the army of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin. China was named after this great emperor who brought the warring states to rest, and unified the country. Obsessed with immortality and afterlife, Qin Shi Huang ordered for the creation of the Terracotta army as he believed that objects like statues get animated in the afterlife. Each soldier was crafted and painted with great detail to create a replica of the army that conquered and ruled over China. Believed to have been buried with the emperor 2,000 years ago, the Terrecotta warriors still emit the ancient warring charm with their sharp weapons, varying expressions and larger than life presence.
#4 Nazca Lines
Location: South Peru
A celestial calendar, a landing strip for aliens or clues by ancient gods? The enigma surrounding the Nazca lines remains unsolved to this very day. Believed to have been created by the Nazca civilisation over 1500 years ago, these lines showcase a collection of complex and simple lines merging together to form individual figures like jaguars, monkeys and other animals, along with a few humans. The Nazca civilisation utilised the plain (Peruvian desert) between the Inca and Nazca valleys as their drawing board, and created figures/lines by making small trenches on the surface; the largest figure spans across 285m. Wondering how these lines are still preserved? Well, the Nazca desert is almost windless due to which the surface of the desert is covered with pebbles instead of fine sand. This has ensured its survival through centuries. However to get a good look at these lines, a visit to the surrounding hills is recommended.
#5 Michelangelo’s David
Location: The Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence
Since its unveiling in 1504, Michelangelo’s David shines bright as one of the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance period. Michelangelo chose to break free from the conventional iconography of the Biblical hero David standing in triumph above the giant Goliath’s head. He did so by capturing an unspecific moment which showcases David’s strength and muscular tension that breaks through the calm facade. It is said Michelangelo, who was not even 30, continued to add finishing touches to the statue even after it was unveiled to the public at Piazza della Signoria, a major square in Florence. Almost 400 years later, this masterpiece was shifted to Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence for preservation purposes.
#6 Kailasa Temple
Location: Ellora, India
While the world was slowly getting acquainted with the ability to construct houses from the top and then towards the bottom, India was already one step ahead. The Kailasa Temple in India was constructed in this fashion back in the 8th century. This temple stands out amongst numerous temples and monasteries of the famed Ellora caves, because it has been constructed from a single, enormous basalt rock. Carved with intricate details, the Rashtrakutas dynasty wanted the Kailasa Temple to mirror Shiva’s mountain abode. Believed to have been constructed over decades, this temple covers twice the area of the Parthenon in Athens. Clearly an engineering marvel, every corner here is fabulously carved and depicts the various avatars of Vishnu, and scenes from Mahabharata, Ramayana and Krishna’s life. Don’t forget to hike up a foot trail to the south of the complex for a bird’s eye view of this magnificent structure.
#7 Monet’s Water Lilies
Location: Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris
Some experiences cannot be put into words; witnessing Monet’s water lilies is one such experience. Often described as magical, the water lilies grace the twin oval rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. These eight beauties were a part of the 250 paintings that Monet painted of the lily ponds in the garden of his Giverny home. His fascination lead him to capture the play of light on the pond at different times and different seasons, the result of which was spell bounding! Monet donated eight of his painting to the state of France, and gave them specific instructions on how to display them. In the twin oval rooms, the paintings come to life when natural light pours in and creates an ambience of serenity and calm. The couches and benches located in the centre of the room let you bask in the beauty of the impressionist master’s talent.
#8 Cloud Gate
Location: Millennium Park, Chicago
A perfect blend of artistic vision and engineering skills, Cloud Gate proudly stands at the Millenium Park in all its 99,790kg stainless steel glory. Deemed as an impossible feat, British-Indian sculptor – Anish Kapoor and his team proved the world wrong when they achieved a perfectly seamless surface in their dream sculpture. Inspired by a drop of mercury, Cloud Gate took two years and millions of dollars to see the light of the day. Today, it is one of the most popular and successful sculptures of this millennium! This monument reflects the beautiful Chicago sky and the fascinating skyline, earning it the name ‘Cloud Gate’. Selfie lovers, don’t forget to walk under this sculpture for a perfect, whacky selfie!
PS: Cloud Gate is also known as ‘The Bean’, and has topped the list of Chicago’s most cherished monuments.
#9 Sheikh Lotfollah mosque
Location: Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Esfahan, Iran
While Iran is West Asia’s cultural heart, Esfahan is Iran’s most beautiful city. However, it is the 17th century Naqsh-e Jahan Square that defines the art scene of Esfahaan. Even though this gorgeous square has an array of mosques, mansions and a handicrafts market; it’s the beauty of Sheikh Lotfollah mosque that surpasses them all. The entrance of this mosque is well-decorated, but a bit dark, which helps elevate the brilliance of the central chamber’s intricately patterned, glazed tiles. Inside, one can notice a motif of blue lozenges, which are bordered by thick gold bands. This begins at the dome’s base and rises towards a sunburst at the centre. The dynamics of the entire interior of this mosque glitters, and is exceptionally high on colour and pattern!
#10 Statues of Ramesses II
Location: Abu Simbel, Egypt
The 13th century BC saw the construction of two grand temples built on the orders of one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, Ramesses II. The entrance of the larger temple was adorned with four huge statues of the pharaoh. The aim behind the construction of these statues was to warn the Nairobi raiders of the strength and power of the ruler. The sculptors were ordered to create an idolised depiction of the monarch, as a result of which the statues bear little to no resemblance to Ramesses II. However, the visage of the powerful ruler can be observed at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. The interesting fact about these temples is that they don’t stand in their original location. They were lifted and reassembled besides an artificial hill after they faced the threat of flooding from Lake Nasser. A feat of this level deserves a visit!