Art,  Photographing Public Art,  Themed galleries,  Thursday Trios

Gallery: tripling the impact

Why erect one monument when you can erect three? If something is worth commemorating then let’s make a big impact by tripling up! 

That’s simplistic of course. Many of the monuments/sculptures in the following photos are actually just a small section of a much larger number of similar ones. But some are very deliberately in a group of three, so I’ll start this Thursday Trios post with those.

Monument to Party Foundation, Pyongyang

This was erected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Workers Party. It depicts three clenched fists, one holding a hammer, one a sickle and one a writing brush. These constitute the party symbol, representing the three branches of the party: industrial workers, farmers and intellectuals. 

This shot from further back shows the scale of the monument – notice the figure of a man passing in front of it. 

Juche Tower, Pyongyang

We see the same symbols in this sculptural piece at the foot of the Juche Tower. 

My featured photo is also from Pyongyang and shows three of the many memorial busts at the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery. Each of these is based on a photograph of a martyr who people who participated in the revolution; they are therefore very realistic. 

Angkor Wat

Here are just three of roughly 2,000 Devata or Apsara reliefs to be found at Angkor Wat. These are depictions of beautiful women, with ornate hairdos and jewellery, bare-breasted and often posed as if dancing. 

Angkor Thom

These are just a few of the relief carvings on the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Thom, King Jayavarman VII’s great city. It is the largest complex at Angkor.

The Monument of the Discoveries, Belem 

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery  during the 15th and 16th centuries under the leadership of Henry the Navigator. In addition to Henry himself at the front of the monument, there are 33 other figures of which these are just three: Alfonso de Albuquerque, St. Francis Xavier, Christopher da Gama. 

Pisa cathedral

Three saints crown the façade of Pisa’s Duomo, which personally I found far more impressive than its famous Leaning Tower! 

Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo

The ornate porch of this basilica in Bergamo’s old Citta Alta is crowned with these figures of the Madonna with Child flanked by St Esther and St Grata.

Ahu Tongariki

Finally three of the fifteen moai on Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu on Rapa Nui.

I’m also sharing these mostly very public monuments for Marsha’s Photographing Public Art challenge, although the two Angkor ones don’t meet her criterion of being free to view. I hope she’ll forgive me as the remainder do fit the brief!


  • Mama Cormier

    Sarah I can’t believe that I didn’t see these earlier. I thought I had a good grasp on replying to all my comments and posts for Thursday Trios. There are at least 10 that I’ve missed. Your trios this week. are very powerful and dramatic. Thanks for such great photos.

  • Annie Berger

    Love the power of three especially in garden plantings – perhaps the subject of a future post?! Fascinated by the brutalism photos in North Korea as I don’t think we’ll ever visit. Glad you highlighted the Duomo in Pisa – we visited last November and were also stuck by its unheralded beauty.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Annie 🙂 Yes, flower trios are among the subjects I have in mind for the future – great minds think alike! I’m glad you loved Pisa’s Duomo too. It seemed to me that quite a few tourists didn’t even bother to visit it, only taking an interest in the tower. What a shame!

  • Alli Templeton

    Well, Sarah, they say three is a magic number, and your shots show that in spades. They also show that the ‘the power of three’ speech writing technique translates just as effectively to the visual arts. The power of three is supposed to give a message more impact and make things easier to remember, and this can certainly be said of all your subjects. Great stuff. 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      That’s a good point about the ‘power of three’ rule – I remember it from my public speaking days but hadn’t thought to apply it to photography 😀 I do know though that having an odd number of things in a photo or painting is more visually interesting than having a balanced even number.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I didn’t mean to suggest there was anything particularly wrong with the photos, only that they weren’t of the sort of tasty delights you shared 😆

    • Sarah Wilkie

      No, we didn’t visit San Jose as with limited time and travelling at short notice it made more sense to focus on the wildlife. Another time maybe …

  • Marsha Ingrao

    Sarah, what an eclectic group of statues. I love they they fit into the trios challenge so perfectly. I think the rule about free is important, but like Becky B’s Squares, if you have at least one picture square in her challenge, you are good to go. Your pictures and explanations are so interesting, beautiful and professional that I haven’t heard any complaints. 🙂

  • Manja Maksimovič

    Ohh, the last one is stunning. I notice that we are unable to see your featured photo if we access your blog only through this post. I had to return to your main page to see it. Just a note if you wish to repeat it somewhere in the post so that it doesn’t go unseen.

Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! And please include your name in case WP marks you 'anonymous' - thank you