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Top 3 recent sculptures in Monaco

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Jérôme Vinette

Besides its stunning scenery, its affluence and its tourist attractions, Monaco appeals to tourists through its rich cultural and artistic heritage. Introducing the first article in our brand new series, dedicated to the Principality’s sculptures.

Monaco is brimming with many sculptures to be found in different districts, from Monte Carlo to the Rocher by way of Fontvieille. Here are our three favourite recent sculptures in the Principality.

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« Et Purus » (2021)

“Et Purus”, located near the Monaco Yacht Club – © Jérôme Vinette

In December 2021, Prince Albert II inaugurated a rather special sculpture on the Lucciana jetty, near the Monaco Yacht Club. At this end of the harbour, you come across a sculpted hand, whose index finger points towards the sky, atop a globe.

This bronze sculpture is a tribute to the Swedish professor and medical researcher, Arne Ljungqvist (90 years old). The former high jump champion worked in several sports organisations, such as World Athletics, whose headquarters are in Monaco, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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Created by Sassona Norton, a renowned American artist, this sculpted hand recognises the professor’s involvement in the fight against doping in sport. It was named “Et Purus,” which is “And Clean” in Latin. To remind us of the harmful effects of doping: the upward-pointing finger symbolises victory.

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The bust of Empress Eugénie (2021)

The bust of Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, on the Rock in Monaco – © Jérôme Vinette

If you take a stroll through the Jardins du Rocher, you will see the bust of a very popular figure in the Principality. It is the Empress Eugénie of Montijo, wife of Napoleon III.

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The bust was inaugurated last year to mark the centenary of her death. Eugénie is represented wearing a small crown with a lace train, a pearl necklace and a Latin cross pendant. The sculpture is accompanied by a large inaugural plaque, displayed on a low wall, on which are engraved the following words (in French): “In tribute to Eugenie, Empress of the French, friend of Monaco and its Princes, neighbour of the Principality in her villa Cyrnos at Cap-Martin.”

Surrounded by flowers in Monaco’s colours, this piece is in fact a copy of the original by the French sculptor, Georges Diébolt, made in 1860. The bust has been placed so that Eugénie’s gaze is turned towards Cap-Martin and her villa. At the time, this was where the Empress stayed, when she came to the area.

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Main Divition III “Ludus” (2017)

Main Division III, “Ludus”, by Bernard Bezzina, near the Monte-Carlo Opera – © Jérôme Vinette

A unique bronze sculpture is to be found on the west esplanade of the famous Opéra de Monte-Carlo: Main Divition III “Ludus”. It is a large broken and cracked bronze hand with a small globe at the end of the index finger. This massive piece is the work of the Toulon artist Bernard Bezzina. It was unveiled by Prince Albert II in September 2017.

The piece symbolises strength, represented by the hand, and fragility, represented by the cracks. The sculpture suggests that we no longer hold the world in the palm of our hands, that it is almost slipping away from us. An illustration of our planet’s fragile balance.

This giant work encourages the visitor to reflect on the future ahead. It also calls for action before we lose that balance for ever.