It is very profitable to be a Monegasque! And not just because Monaco residents do not pay taxes, can travel around the world without a visa and receive housing from their state “for a nominal fee”. Unusual and valuable princely gifts play the major role in the Monegasques loyalty.
One of the most important gifts that Grimaldi princely family gave to the residents and visitors of their state was a collection of sculptures which gathered all the magnificent artworks of such authors as Botero, Calder, Arman, Blake, Cesar, and the others.
The first sculptures in the Principality were installed along the pedestrian mall in the special Fenway area which was called “The Road of Sculptures”. But over time there became more and more artworks, so today you can find them all over the city, sometimes in the most unexpected places.
I want to invite you on a little tour through the sculptures of Monaco.
Perhaps, I would like to begin with the statues of principality rulers themselves.
In front of us is a monument to Francis Grimaldi, the founder of the ruling dynasty in Monaco. It is not a mistake that he is shown in church attire. According to the legend, on 8 January 1297 Grimaldi with a group of supporters, disguised as monks, knocked to the castle gate. After they were admitted, “monks took out the swords and captured the fortress with a fight. This event is displayed on the coat of arms of Monaco where two monks with swords are depicted as chargers.
Another monarch who was repeatedly immortalized and decorates the streets of his native country is Prince Albert I.
Albert I, in addition to state control, was fond of oceanography and devoted much effort to the development of this science. He participated in a variety of maritime expeditions; many instruments and methodologies for ocean research belongs to him. Fully following his passion, Albert founded the Institute of Oceanography. Today, the museum at the Institute presents various models of ships, nautical instruments, and weapons, as well as about 4,000 species of fish and 200 species of invertebrates.
And this sculpture was installed in honor of the Thirteenth Prince of Monaco Rainier III, the father of modern monarch and the husband of the American movie star Grace Kelly.
By the way, the last one is very loved and respected in Monaco. Many people grieved with the prince’s family when she died in a car crash.
This sculpture by Kees Verkade is located in the rosaries of Grace Kelly. It was created by Prince Rainier III after the death of his wife. Princess Rosario is surrounded by her favorite flowers.
In Monaco, there is a series of automotive sculpture dedicated to the race «Formula-1» and its pilots.
Monument to the rider William Grover who won the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929 driving Bugatti 35B.
This monument is to the Argentine race driver, multiple champions of Formula 1 Juan Manuel Fangio. Juan Manuel was one of the most successful drivers: seven full seasons of participation in Formula, he won five league titles, four of them in a row. Over the long history of Formula -1 only Michael Schumacher in 2003 got a bigger amount of titles.
This bust was erected in memory of another Formula-1 racer – Louis Chiron. He was a native of Monaco and defended the honor of the principality not only in the Grand Prix race but also in various international competitions. By the way, Louis also became the oldest driver competing in Formula -1 (58 years).
Perhaps in the future Formula -1 will be holding races on the cars called Motophant.
The sculpture «Adam and Eve» is the work of one of my favorite artists Fernando Botero. Previous works of Botero we met in Barcelona where his great horse meets everyone in the airport and a fat cat who is walking through the Rambla Avenue.
Monument «Adam and Eve» appeared in Monte Carlo in 1981. Copies can be found in New York, Berlin, and Singapore. And as always, the works of Botero can be distinguished by voluptuous but very elegant, smooth and cute shapes.
Next sculpture “with history” is Saint Devote, patron of Monaco. According to the legend, Saint Devoto was born in Corsica, in 283 AD. For her faith she suffered severe punishments: she was tortured and quartered. The governor made the others burn her body so that it did not become an object of veneration. However, the Christians saved her from the flames and placed the remains on the ship.
As a beautiful legend says, the ship was in a storm and Devoto remains were discovered by fishermen just at the place where now the Principality of Monaco is. In honor of the Holy, the chapel was built there. It operates to this day.
A little more unusual sculpture.
«Passer feeding the birds»
«Girl on the ball» or the European Union.
Hippo at the Casino.
The beauty and the Beast.
A bench is a work of the wonderful sculptor Kim Hamisky with nontrivial name – «Node».
Ballerinas on a swing.
And this is a new exhibition which has recently appeared on the streets of Monaco. Contemporary art, nothing else to add …
Fountains deserve special attention in the design of urban spaces.
They are set of various kinds, shapes, and colors here. Some of them are involved in gardening, some attract tourists. And there are «dry» fountains which surprise with their unusual design.
Have you seen these wonderful sculptures? Then run faster to Monaco!