While you can find sculptures and art in every single town and city across the globe, the most beautiful and compelling artwork should have the ability to stop you in your tracks and question your own reality. But if you haven't come across anything like that just yet, don't worry. These impressive sculptures are so captivatingly realistic they look as though they have come alive. And we have to give major kudos to the artists behind such awe-inspiring pieces. Check them out below, and prepare to have your mind blown!
Rain by Nazar Bilyk- Ukraine
While many of the sculptures we see out in nature are made from stone or steel, sometimes a rogue material comes out of the woodwork - and it seems as though Ukrainian artist Nazar Bilyk wasn't afraid to experiment with the fragility of glass to bring this hugely realistic sculpture to life. In fact, if we didn't know that raindrop was made from glass, we'd say that it was an actual raindrop.
The bronze statue of the man itself is impressive, but the placement, the size, and the shape of the raindrop landing on his face is truly something special. And if you want to see this for yourself, head to Kyiv Fashion Park.
The Travelers by Bruno Catalano - France
Art can be so powerful. And sometimes, the smallest of changes can transform a piece and make it one of the most thought-provoking things the world has ever seen. That's certainly the case when it comes to artist Bruno Catalano's work. Over the course of his career, he has brought many of these statues to life, deliberately missing the central part of the body to represent the home that emigrants leave behind.
But while Bruno wanted to bring to light this aspect of the sculpture, he also wanted to add the suitcase to represent the idea of "walking towards the hope of a better future." And we think that's beautiful.
EXPANSION by Paige Bradley - New York
If you're struggling to tear your eyes away from this piece of art, we don't blame you. From the striking construction of the structure to the light bursting out from the inside, everything about it is captivating. And that's exactly what artist Paige Bradley wanted to convey. Her sculpture can be found sitting on the banks of the water in New York City, with the impressive city skyline behind her.
Within her sculpture, Paige wanted to show people that you can still shine bright even when you feel like you're broken inside. And if that's not the perfect metaphor for life, we don't know what is.
Mud Maid by Pete and Sue Hill - England
If you ever find yourself lost and looking for something to do in Cornwall, a trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan should definitely be on your list. This amazing garden is full to the brim with artwork and sculptures, but the biggest attraction of them all is the stunning Mud Maid sculpture. Designed and made by brother and sister duo Pete and Sue Hill, this isn't just any sculpture - it's a living sculpture.
This means that it blends perfectly with nature and that it changes with the seasons. And while the overall image depicts a sleeping woman, her whole look changes throughout the year. It's a magnificent thing to see.
Freedom by Zenos Frudakis -Pennsylvania
The United States is crawling with impressive artists and their equally impressive art. But if you head to Pennsylvania, you'll be able to Freedom with your very eyes. Zenos Frudakis crafted this impressive piece of artwork to showcase "the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process" and to bring to life "a visual metaphor for the process of transformation." And through the four figures, that freedom is very apparent.
The idea of breaking away from the bonds that hold you back is extremely powerful and something that can resonate with a lot of people. So, it's no wonder it's been a popular attraction since it was installed in 2000.
Diminish and Ascend by David McCracken - Australia
We've heard of the stairway to heaven, but we don't think we've ever seen one in real life before - until now. This amazing sculpture is Diminish and Ascend by David McCracken and could be found overlooking Bondi Beach in Australia in 2013. The incredible play on perspective is something that will make you do a double-take, and we couldn't love this never-ending optical illusion any more if we tried.
We imagine a lot of people have tried to scale this sculpture over the years, but let's just hope that the artist's hard work wasn't ruined by those thinking they really could climb up into the clouds.
Mustangs of Las Colinas by Robert Glen - Texas
You probably don't need us to tell you that Texas has always had a link to horses. From the cowboys that live and work there to the stables that are full of horses, the people in this state are horse lovers through and through. But while it may look as though some horses have escaped in Irving and are running through the fountains, this is actually the Mustangs of Las Colinas sculpture, crafted by Robert Glen.
The fountains underneath the horse's hooves are a great addition by the artist, creating the idea that the wild mustangs are causing a splash as they run through the water. It's truly stunning.
The Caring Hand by Eva Oertli and Beat Huber - Switzerland
There's something so magical about man-made objects merging seamlessly with nature and the natural world around it. And while we know this sculpture has been hand-crafted, there's something about this craftmanship that makes it look as though it's always been there. And it seems as though that's exactly what Eva Oertli and Beat Huber wanted when they brought The Caring Hand to life in Switzerland. It couldn't look more alive if they tried.
Of course, we know that this sculpture doesn't go underground, they were able to sculpt it in a way that makes us question whether there really is a hand coming up from the surface.
Gigante Dell’Appennino by Giambologna - Italy
We love it when art and nature merge together to make something extraordinarily beautiful, and that's exactly what's happened here. Located in Florence, Italy, it's hard not to spot this 35-foot-tall sculpture that seems to rise out of the cragged rocks underneath. And we have to give thanks to the 16th-century artist, Giambologna, for bringing the impressive Gigante dell’Appennino to life. After all, the movement in the stone carving looks so real!
From the greenery that's growing around his feet to the intricacy of his hair and beard and the muscles in his legs, this sculpture is one of the most impressive things we've ever seen.
Figures in the Mist by Pauline Ohrel - Paris
It may seem like these ghostly figures are floating through the mist, but these are actually metallic sculptures created by French artist Pauline Ohrel. What we love about artwork like this is that they look as though they belong in nature while also bringing to light the immense talent of artists such as Pauline. After all, these sculptures look so soft despite the fact they're made from wire. It's very impressive.
The whole piece is ominous and beautiful at the same time, and they seem to stand tall against the trees behind them. All in all, it's a stunning addition to the natural world.
Vicissitudes by Jason De Caires Taylor - Grenada
We're used to seeing artwork within nature, but have you ever seen artwork under the water before? Well, there was a reason why artist Jason de Caires Taylor decided to place his sculpture somewhere only divers and snorkelers would be able to see. That reason was because Vicissitudes was created for the enslaved people who perished in the water as they tried to make their way to America from Africa.
He wanted to show the slaves united against their capturers, which is why he decided to carve them all holding hands. He wanted to reiterate the fact that they were all "stronger together."
Dancing With Dandelions by Robin Wight - England
Many artists are lucky enough to find their niche, and Robin Wight is one of those artists. He has found his happy place in creating wire sculptures of fairies, and Dancing With Dandelions is his most famous sculpture to date. And while this piece of art has been made from such a harsh and hard material, what we love about this piece is that it looks so realistic and soft.
Yes, it looks as though this fairy really is having a fight with the dandelion - and you have to admire the tiny but all-important details that make this piece a masterpiece.
Popped Up by Ervin Hervé-Lóránth - Hungary
Although some of the sculptures on this list have been around for centuries, others have been temporary - and that was the case for Popped Up by Ervin Hervé-Lóránth in Budapest. This gentle giant first reared its polystyrene head during the Art Market Budapest Festival in 2014, and it's fair to say that it made its mark. From his facial expressions to the layer of lawn he's crawling out under, everything about this sculpture looks so realistic.
We love how this sculpture interacts with nature, too. It could have very easily been an eyesore in front of such an impressive building. Instead, it looks like it could have always been there.
The Guan Yu Statue by Han Meilin - China
In theory, the Guan Yu statue was an impressive feat of engineering. Designed by the renowned Chinese artist Han Meilin, this statue was meant to depict the impressive and imposing stature of the military general Guan Yu. When it was completed in 2016, there was no doubt that the 1320-ton statue and its 59-meter height made a mark on the skyline. Unfortunately, it was a little too big to be practical in real life.
When the land underneath the statue began to sink under the hefty weight of the concrete and bronze strips, government officials decided they had no choice but to remove it. Although they plan to rebuild elsewhere, this has yet to begin.
Hippo Square - Taiwan
Many people travel to Taiwan to immerse themselves in the art scene and the impressive culture. But next time you head to that area of the world, don't go to a museum or an art gallery - go to Taipei Zoo instead. Here, nestled within the African Animal Area, you will find the famous Hippo Square! This square is home to a number of hippo sculptures, that look as though they're coming out of the ground.
Considering this is the closest many people will ever get to a hippo, it's no wonder that these sculptures are so impressive. And we love how they bring a bit of nature to the harsh concrete.
Unknown Bureaucrat by Magnus Thomasson - Iceland
It's no secret that Iceland is a popular tourist attraction. Travelers head to this country to see the Northern Lights, the volcanic land, and the Blue Lagoon. But there's no doubt about the fact that the Unknown Bureaucrat by Magnus Thomasson is also a stop on many people's list. This statue has become synonymous with the city of Reykjavik, with many people pondering the thought process behind the addition that was placed next to a duck pond in 1994.
Instead of a face, this briefcase-laden man has been topped with a large block of volcanic basalt. Even today, art experts aren't sure why Magnus made the decision to do this.
Ocean Atlas by Jason DeCaires Taylor - Bahamas
Jason DeCaires Taylor has made a name for himself as the man of the ocean. His artwork brings nature and art together as one, and Ocean Atlas is just another piece to add to his ever-growing resume. This 60-ton, 18-foot-tall statue depicts a young girl holding up the weight of the ocean, shouldering the burden of the world and the future of the human race. And just look how magnificent it looks.
But what we love most about this sculpture is that it's not just there to send a message. This piece also acts as an artificial reef, allowing nature to take over and replenish the ocean.
The Kelpies by Andy Scott - Scotland
Although these may just look like impressive sculptures of horses, they're so much more than that. The Kelpies by Andy Scott can be found between Forth & Clyde Canal and the River Carron in Scotland, which was a deliberate choice by the artist. After all, his art depicts the shape-changing aquatic spirit of Scottish legend. These horse-like water spirits supposedly protect the bodies of water in the country, and that's exactly what these striking sculptures are doing.
What we love most about this sculpture is the choice of martial. There's something about this hard steel material that looks incredibly soft and flowy - almost like the water underneath them.
Transcendence by Keith Jellum - Oregon
We love it when art has a sense of humor, and Transcendence by Keith Jellum has certainly given us a laugh. But it seems as though this is so much more than just a simple fish out of water. This sculpture was perfectly placed on Salmon Street in Portland, Oregon - largely due to the fish shop that sits underneath it. However, that's not the only reason Jellum decided to get fishy with his artwork.
For those who don't know, Portland has always been celebrated for its fishing industry and its rich waterways. And what better way to immortalize that than with a fish in bricks?
The Headington Shark by John Buckley - England
We love artwork that breaks the mold and goes against the status quo, and that's exactly what this sculpture has to offer. After all, when was the last time you saw a giant shark sticking out of a house? What's so interesting about this piece is that it was originally commissioned as a protest piece of artwork by the owner of the house, who wanted to bring attention to the warplanes he heard flying above the house.
Made from fiberglass and weighing 450 lb, this sculpture was hard to ignore - but it didn't go down with the local officials, as the home owner didn't ask for permission to install it. However, it's still there today!
De Vaartkapoen by Tom Frantzen - Belgium
Although many of the sculptures on this list have deep and meaningful connotations, De Vaartkapoen by Tom Frantzen is a little different. It was placed on the streets of Brussels in 1985 and was meant to be a humorous depiction of cops and robbers. In fact, it shows a policeman being tripped by a thief hiding in a sewer manhole! And if you want a direct translation, this sculpture is quite literally called "Channel Rascal."
It's thought that this piece of art was created to honor the dock workers who used to protest against the government many years ago. But, all in all, it's a funny piece that makes many people laugh.
The Nelson Mandela Sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli - South Africa
You probably don't need us to tell you who Nelson Mandela is. Thanks to his impressive life and story, there are so many pieces of artwork dedicated to the former president and anti-apartheid activist around the world. But one of our favorites is the Nelson Mandela Sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli in his home country of South Africa. In fact, this sculpture stands on the exact place he was captured by police.
Made from metal bars, representing the metal bars he looked at every day in prison, this amazing sculpture offers a portrait of the man loved by so many. And it's truly moving.
METALmorphosis by David Černý - North Carolina
If you stare at this piece of artwork for too long, it's bound to give you a headache - but the good kind! Thanks to its placement in the reflecting pool below, it looks as though the kinetic head is melting into the water. And we have artist David Černý to thank for bringing this sculpture to life. Standing at 7 meters tall and weighing 13 tons, it can be found in the Whitehall Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Standing amongst the clinical buildings of the Corporate Center, this head is made from 40 layers of polished steel and is actually in seven pieces that can all move independently. It's a real feat of engineering.
The Giant’s Head by Pete and Sue Hill - Cornwall
We've already seen the Mud Maid, but what you might not realize is that The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall is also home to another creation by the artistic Hill duo. They also brought The Gian's Head to life, and this earthen woodland sculpture is something that takes many visitors by surprise. After all, it seems to blend seamlessly into the grass beneath it and the trees behind it.
This piece of artwork has been there since 1997, and the natural sculpture is a major draw for visitors. They love the whimsical nature of it, and how impressive it looks in the gardens.
Horizons by Neil Dawson - New Zealand
While you might associate New Zealand with sheep and rolling hills, we bet you've never seen anything quite like this before. Although our brain tricks us into thinking this looks like a piece of 3D paper floating in the wind, this sculpture is completely 2D. The optical illusion is truly captivating, and one that's so simple yet so effective. And we think it looks amazing contrasted against the green hills of nature.
What makes this sculpture even cooler is the fact that you can walk all the way around the sculpture and see something different every single time. No angle is the same.
The Awakening by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. - Washington D. C.
It's amazing when artists can make such hard and strong materials look so fluid, and at first glance, it looks as though this man really is emerging from the ground. Either that, or he's falling deeper and deeper into the earth. Whatever the case, we think it's important to note that this sculpture can't actually be found in Washington D.C. anymore. In fact, it was moved to nearby Maryland after three decades in the nation's capital.
Designed and built by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. in 1980, the artist actually created this piece of art for Washington, DC's 11th annual Sculpture Conference. After that, it became a much-loved addition to the area.
Iguana Park by Hans Van Houwelingen - The Netherlands
If you fancy a trip to Amsterdam, you should definitely add the Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen Square to your list of places to go. And if you look closely around this square, you should be able to make out the 40 bronze iguanas that call this place their home. Aptly nicknamed 'Iguana Park,' these animals scrup[tiures have been there for many years, and tourists love trying to count all of them. Especially as they're true to size!
It's believed that these animals represent the constant change of Amsterdam, from embracing its history to moving forward with the future. And we love the fact that they offer such a wholesome message.
Monument to a Woman's Handbag - Italy
You probably don't need us to tell you that Italy is considered to be the fashion capital of the world. But it still takes some people by surprise when they see this giant handbag in the middle of an Italian park. Called Monument to a Woman's Handbag, this sculpture was supposedly created to honor the popular accessory that women love around the world. It's fun and its flirty, and it's certainly different.
Not much is known about this sculpture, which is what makes it even more captivating. What was the thought process behind it? Is there a story that inspired such a piece? We might never know.
Force of Nature by Lorenzo Quinn
Many artists choose to only create one version of their art, but that's not the case for Lorenzo Quinn. He has created The Force of Nature series as a continuation of art, sculpting pieces to showcase across the world from Monaco to Singapore. The idea? To provide the world with a surreal presentation of the Earth's rotation through a personified force of nature - and we think it looks absolutely incredible.
From the ripples in her gown to the sheer strength she seems to have, this sculpture is truly a work of art. And it looks both incredibly hard and soft at the same time.
Giant Tap - Switzerland
If this sculpture has messed with your mind, you're not alone. This Giant Tap appears to float in the sky, with a continuous supply of water flowing out of it - but we're not quite sure how. But the sculpture has been a popular attraction at Technopark Winterthur in Switzerland for many years now, and it seems as though the people who visit this place can't get enough of this curious optical illusion.
If we were to hazard a guess, we'd say that beneath the image of the flowing water is a structure that's holding up the giant faucet. However, we can't be sure!
Hot With a Chance of a Late Storm by The Glue Society - Australia
We love it when a piece of artwork can make people stop and stare while simultaneously bringing to light an important message. And that's exactly what this does. After all, the image of an ice cream van melting on the beach isn't something anyone wants to see - but it's the kind of thing that you can't stop looking at. This was proven in 2013 when the steel and fiberglass structure popped up in Sydney.
As kids cried and adults stared, the artists who made this sculpture tried to educate onlookers about the dangers of climate change. And it certainly got people talking about it.
The Sower by Bernardas Bučas - Lithuania
Vandalism is an artist's worst nightmare. The last thing they want is for their hard work and passion to be destroyed by the work of senseless vandals who don't care about art. However, that doesn't mean that vandalism is always bad. Although The Sower statue in Lithuania was beautiful when it was first built, a vandalism stunt in 2008 seemed to make the sculpture even more powerful thanks to some graffiti additions.
And while the graffiti stars on the back wall don't seem to make much of an impact during the day, when a light shines on this sculpture at night, the stars come to life.
Love by Alexander Milov - Hungary
While this sculpture now resides in Hungary, there was once a time when Love by Alexander Milov was admired by the attendees of the Burning Man Festival in 2015. It received international acclaim after this debut, and it's not hard to understand why. The story behind this piece of art is both heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time, depicting the sadness we feel as adults and the pure innocence of a child.
Seeing the children illuminated within the caged adults is a powerful visual and something that really makes you rethink how you live your life. So, we commend Alexander for this.
The Black Ghost BySvajunas Jurkus and Sergejus Plotnikovas - Lithuania
What would you do if you were minding your own business walking through the city when you came across a hooded ghost trying to haul himself out of the water below? There's a high chance that you'd be frightened, and rightly so. But that's exactly what you can experience if you head to Klaipėda in Lithuania. Called Juodasis Vaiduoklis (or The Black Ghost), this sculpture is both terrifying and beautiful at the same time.
Half of the sculpture lies underneath the walkway, giving the illusion that the ghost is hanging off the edge. But what you might not realize is that this figure is actually based on a ghostly figure from Lithuanian legend.
Architectural Fragment by Petrus Spronk - Australia
At first glance, this looks like a beautiful city center filled with beautiful architecture and green trees. But when you look a little closer, you'll be able to see that something is a little out of place. Yes, that is a sunken library building in the ground! It's called Architectural Fragment by Petrus Spronk, and it was commissioned for the Swanston Street Walk Public Art Project in1992. All in all, it's pretty special.
The concept behind this sculpture is completely down to your personal interpretation. Does it suggest the decline of physical books and libraries? Or does it showcase the weight libraries have on people's lives?
La Fontana Dell'Uomo Della Pioggia by Jean Michel Folon - Italy
There's something so magical about this sculpture that we just can't look away. We don't know whether it's the flowing water, the umbrella's curvature, or the man's general construction. But whatever the case, La Fontana Dell'Uomo Della Pioggia is a success. Located on a roundabout in Italy, it may seem like a strange place for such a stunning structure, but it also seems to make complete sense.
The bronze sculpture stands three meters high, and the man's umbrella shoots jets of water out of the top, cascading down and around the statue. And while it was damaged in 2015 in a road traffic accident, it's since been restored.
Heart of Trees by Jaume Plensa - England
The idea of hugging trees is often laughed at, but many people fail to realize the happiness that can come from hugging trees. That's why Jaume Plensa decided to bring Heart of Trees to life. Although he's created these structures across the globe, this particular photo was taken in Yorkshire Sculpture Park. And the idea was to connect with people the way trees and humans connect when they embrace each other.
Jaume wanted to reassert just how important a sense of touch is, especially when you're trying to connect with someone. And we think this piece of artwork is incredibly moving.
Maman by Louise Bourgeois - Canada
There are two kinds of people in this world; there are those who don't mind spiders, and then there are those who absolutely hate spiders. If you're part of the latter category, you might want to look away now. After all, the Maman sculpture is one of the world's largest spider sculptures, coming in at a whopping 30ft high and over 33ft wide. Inside the body, there are even 32 marble eggs.
But what was the inspiration for the spider? Louise explained, "The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend... Like spiders, my mother was very clever."
A Day Out by Marguerite Derricourt - Australia
In 1999, the shoppers who regularly visited the Rundle Mall in Adelaide were greeted by four new additions. Adorably called Horatio, Oliver, Truffles, and Augusta, these new additions were life-sized pigs made entirely from bronze. Not only that, but they looked incredibly lifelike as they searched through trash bags and seemed to walk around the mall. And this was all thanks to artist Marguerite Derricourt and her A Day Out sculpture.
The sculptures went down so well with the locals that they even ran a competition to name the pigs. And we can't help but think that the names are absolutely perfect!
The Rising Tide by Jason DeCaires Taylor - England
The River Thames is arguably one of the most famous attractions in London, alongside the likes of Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, and Big Ben. But in 2015, new sculptures were added into the mix. They sat in the water of the River Thames and were overlooked by the Houses of Parliament, and many wondered what they meant. Well, these statues were designed by Jason DeCaires Taylor and they were dubbed The Rising Tide.
For this installation, the horse's heads were replaced by oil pumps, and the idea was to bring attention to climate change and the negative impact humans had on the natural world.