Top 5

Top 5 Sculptures

From a dancer pointing her toes to a red stone circle in the desert: be surprised by sculpture with our Top 5 from Tate's collection

What exactly are sculptures? You could think of them as art in 3D (three dimensions). Sculptures can be made by carving, modelling or placing materials together. They can be made out of stone, wood, clay or any other material the artist wants to use!

The artist Lawrence Weiner calls himself a sculptor (someone that makes sculptures), although he mainly make artworks with words on walls. Do you think this is sculpture?

Lawrence Weiner, ‘TIED UP IN KNOTS’ 1988
Lawrence Weiner
TIED UP IN KNOTS 1988
Tate / National Galleries of Scotland
© Lawrence Weiner

So sculpture can be lots of things. It could even be you!

1. Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, Edward Degas

Edgar Degas, ‘Little Dancer Aged Fourteen’ 1880–1, cast c.1922
Edgar Degas
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen 1880–1, cast c.1922
Tate

Edgar Degas often drew and painted ballet dancers and then he made this sculpture of his favourite ballet student at the Paris Opera. He made her out of bronze and dressed her in silk and made her a tutu. This is one of the most popular artworks at Tate. We've even made a film about her!

2. Spring, Dame Barbara Hepworth

Dame Barbara Hepworth, ‘Spring’ 1966
Dame Barbara Hepworth
Spring 1966
Tate
© Bowness

This artwork is called Spring. Dame Barbara Hepworth based many of her sculptures on shapes found in nature. She was inspired by pebbles, shells, cliffs and the sea. She was interested, not only in how a sculpture looks, but how it feels and even how it smells. If this sculpture smelt like spring, what would it smell like?

3. Mobile, Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder, ‘Mobile’ c.1932
Alexander Calder
Mobile c.1932
Lent from a private collection 1992
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018

Imagine Alexander Calder's Mobile gracefully floating above you. He uses primary colours and basic shapes to make his abstract sculptures. Movement was important to Alexander and he loved music and dance.

4. Stack, Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg Stack 1975

Tony Cragg
Stack 1975
© DACS 2017
License this image

Lots of artists make sculptures out of scrap or found materials. Stack is a perfect example of this. Look at all those layers! That’s a lot of materials in a tight cube! How do you think it was made?

5. Sahara Circle, Richard Long

Richard Long, ‘Sahara Circle’ 1988
Richard Long
Sahara Circle 1988
Tate
© Richard Long

Sahara Circle was made by Richard Long during a very long walk in Algeria. Richard Long makes his art in the landscape using natural materials likes rocks and twigs. He often places his materials in circles or in straight lines. Next time you are on a walk, maybe you could make a sculpture with the materials you find?

Is your favourite in our Top 5?

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