The Principality of Monaco is full of art and culture, wonderful sculptures that commemorate historical figures and hold symbolic significance, created by some of the world’s most talented artists.
Monaco-Ville area has sculptures hidden behind every corner that make the streets of the Rocher even more beautiful. You may not notice them as you walk past or know their meaning, but through this HelloMonaco series on the art scattered around Monaco, each creation will be explored.
François la Malizia
On the stairs that lead to the Prince’s Palace you will see the first sculpture; one of Prince Rainier III donated by the sculptor Kees Verkade, a Dutch artist that specialises in modelling the human form, giving emphasis to movement and emotion. He had a passion for drawing since a young age and began sculpting purely by chance as he decided to take a class in the art while studying advertising. It is impossible to walk around the Principality without coming across Verkade’s many bronze creations, as he says, “creation is my life, my soul, my everything”. Outside the palace another one of his creations can be found, a 20m high sculpture that depicts the founder of the Grimaldi Dynasty, François la Malizia, who in 1297 managed to capture the strategically located Genoan fortress disguised as a monk. The sculpture was offered to HSH Prince Rainier III for the Grimaldi’s Dynasty’s 700th anniversary. Another one of his sculptures can be found next to the ornamental pond in the Saint Martin Gardens; L’Invitation (1979) depicts two beings sharing an intimate moment of spontaneous affection, it is beautiful in its simplicity.
Le Carrefour de la Vie
The Jardins de Saint Martin in fact, are home to numerous works of art, including the bronze with patina sculpture Le Carrefour de la Vie by Swiss artist Edouard-Marcel Sandoz (1881-1971), depicting a woman with four different portraits that are semi-disguised by her cascading hair. The sculpture needs to be admired from all sides to be understood; in one single sculpture, the artist has incorporated childhood, youth, maturity and old age.
Ettore e Andromaca
Walking along you’ll see another bronze sculpture called Ettore e Andromaca (1986) by Italian sculptor Giorgio de Chirico. The statue represents the last hug between Hector and his loving wife Andromache, before leaving the walls of the city of Troy to face Achilles; he stands tall and brave in front of imminent death while she holds on to him for dear life, her hair even metaphorically wrapping round him.
Maryse au Miroir
The gardens hold yet another sculpted human figure Maryse au Miroir or Le Temps Inalterable by Cyril de la Patelliere, a French illustrator and sculptor who has received much recognition and designed a few Monegasque stamps. The statue is of a naked woman admiring her reflection in a hand mirror, perhaps giving a message of vanity.
Prince Albert Ier
A glorious sculpture of SAS Prince Albert Ier (1848-1922) at the helm of a ship holds centre-stage in the garden, appropriately placed on a cliff overlooking the ocean, as though he is about to set sail across the Mediterranean sea. This piece of art was created in 1951 by artist François Cogné, a member of the French Institute, and depicts the great navigator Prince Albert I dressed for a storm, contemplating the vastness and power of the ocean with humility. He was only 22 when he began to develop a keen interest in oceanography, devising a number of techniques that would later aid exploration. Another majestic sculpture in white marble was donated by foreign colonies in 1914 as a tribute to Prince Albert 1er 25 years of reign, sat by the palace viewpoint, it symbolises science discovering the bounty of the oceans.
Very soon read we’ll tell you more on where to walk in the Monaco-Ville, and if you plan to stroll through other parts of Monaco, then check out our section on the Monaco sculpture to know what other amazing works of art you can find in the tiny Principality.