International Sculpture Day

Mother Sculpture by Frantisek Uprka


By Sharon Schweitzer


Every year on the last Saturday in April, International Sculpture Day raises awareness, appreciation, and enjoyment of sculpture. It’s also a day for sculptors around the world to showcase their artistic talents.

Sculpture is a type of visual arts that operates in three dimensions. The word sculpture comes from the Latin word sculpere, which means to carve. Sculptors use a variety of materials to create their sculptures. While many of the traditional materials include wood, stone, metal, and ceramics, other sculptors specialize in non-traditional materials. They use materials such as ice, toothpicks, and even LEGO. Sculptors also use materials, colors, texture, and size to evoke an emotion or response from the viewer. Their methods vary, too. Sculptors use one of four primary methods to make their sculptures. These methods include carving, molding, casting, and assembling.

Stone sculptures have been proven to last significantly longer than other works of art made of perishable materials, and they account for the vast bulk of all surviving non-pottery art from ancient cultures to this day. Sculptures have always been a major component of religious devotion in many cultures, and enormous sculptures were commonly used to represent religion or politics until recently. The ancient Mediterranean, India, and China, as well as various cultures in Central and South America and Africa, have the most surviving sculptures.

The first undisputed sculpture pieces came from the Aurignacian culture in Europe and southwest Asia, which was active at the start of the Upper Paleolithic period. This culture developed well-crafted stone tools, pendants, ivory beads, and other forms of art. They are also attributed to being the first to create cave art and three-dimensional figures.

At the beginning of the Mesolithic era much of the figurative sculpture in Europe had been greatly reduced. These sculptures have remained less of a common element in art other than relief decoration of practical objects until the Roman period, despite works such as the Gundestrup cauldron from the European Iron Age and the Bronze Age Trundholm sun chariot. 

Many of the famous sculptures have stood the test of time. For instance, the Venus De Milo is believed to have been created between 130 BCE and 100 BCE.

Some of the most famous sculptures in the world also include:

  • The Great Sphinx in Giza Egypt (the sculptor is unknown)
  • Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by Paul Landowski
  • The Thinker in Paris, France by Auguste Rodin
  • Venus De Milo in Paris, France by Alexandros of Antioch
  • David in Florence, Italy by Michelangelo
  • The Statue of Liberty in New York City, NY by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi 

During the inaugural 2015 IS Day, over 50 events were held in 12 countries including Switzerland, China, Germany, England, Australia, Austria, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, and the USA. In its second year, over 200 events were held in 20+ countries including Australia, Denmark, Poland, Nigeria, Canada, France, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Croatia and Mexico.


Photo by Sharon M. Schweitzer, JD

Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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