The top five must-see sculptures in JerusalemVarious Jerusalemites have served as subjects for some of the world's most famous and enduring sculptures - Michelangelo's David in Florence, Heitor da Silva Costa's Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro, and plenty more.
Various Jerusalemites have served as subjects for some of the world's most famous and enduring sculptures - Michelangelo's David in Florence, Heitor da Silva Costa's Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro, and plenty more. But Jerusalem is a muse for iconic sculptures that endure here, and the city is home to some world-class pieces of standing art. Not surprisingly, many of these works are concentrated on the grounds of the Israel Museum, which is home to a world-famous sculpture garden. Read on for GoJerusalem.com's list of the city's most significant public sculptures.
Homage to Jerusalem Stabile
The first sculpture on our list isn't at the Israel Museum, but anyone who has been to Mount Herzl, or even just driven by, will certainly recognize the large red spider-like piece of art called Homage to Jerusalem Stabile. Artist Alexander Calder's last work is meant to evoke modern Jerusalem, though to many, the 77-foot-high piece with three massive "legs" splaying out from its body evokes bewilderment and mild amusement. Placed in the city's Holland Square and painted a bright "Calder red," the piece has come to represent the city's forward-thrusting ambition.
Turning the World Upside Down Jerusalem
Anish Kapoor's works can cause a stir wherever they are installed, whether it be New York's Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center, or Chicago's Cloud Gate. In Jerusalem, Kapoor created another version of Chicago's aforementioned "bean" on the Israel Museum's grounds, with an hourglass-shaped reflective surface that effectively turns the world upside-down. Appropriately entitled Turning the World Upside Down Jerusalem and installed last year upon the museum's reopening, the sculpture is meant to be the realization of Teddy Kollek's vision of Jerusalem, which merged the heavenly with the earthly. The sculpture puts all of the city in the sky, creating exactly that effect, and leaving viewers with a new-found sense of what Jerusalem truly is.
The monster slide
Not all art is meant to be just looked at. One of Jerusalem's most famous pieces is also its funnest: the Mifletzet, or monster slide, in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood. Located at the center of a pocket park deep in western Jerusalem, the monster slide is beloved by kids and adults alike. From the outside, the piece looks like a crazy-eyed being from outer space, with legs, spikes and other colorful appendages coming out every which way. But inside, the monster, known officially as The Golem, is filled with nooks, caves, stairs and three slides making up its tripartite tongue. Built in 1971 by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, the monster is arguably Jerusalem's truest realization of art for the masses.
The Shrine of the Book
Jerusalem has another piece of art that doubles as a functional piece of property: the Israel Museum's Shrine of the Book. The shrine's iconic white "dome," with a distinctive conical shape, is meant to hearken back to the Soreq caves in the Judean Desert where the Dead Sea Scrolls, displayed in the building below the dome, were found. The pure snowy whiteness of the roof plays against a large black monolith set opposite the building, an homage to the "sons of light and darkness" described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls are among the Israel Museum's greatest treasures, as well as the whole country, and so the shrine's distinguishing shape is a testament to the lofty place it holds in Jerusalem heritage.
Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculpture has graced streets and plaza in cities around America and around the world. For the Israel Museum, Indiana translated the work into Hebrew with a AHAVA (aleph, heh, bet, heh) set on a ridge of the sculpture garden overlooking the hills of Jerusalem. Much like LOVE, AHAVA has become a photo-op favorite for visitors to the museum who can climb inside the gargantuan weathering steel letters. Installed in 1977, Indiana's work is one piece that is not lost in translation.
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