Compare and Contrast Guggenheim, Bilbao and Maman Description


Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao comprises of titanium,glass, and limestone. The museum design’s inspiration came from theshapes and texture of a fish. It covers 350,000 square feet along theNervion River with 120,000 square feet dedicated to exhibition space.The exterior shape is characterized by randomness designed to catchlight and resembles a boat when viewed from the ground symbolizingthe past industrial life of the city. From an aerial view, themuseum’s atrium takes a floral form serving as its organizingcenter.

The Maman sculpture is made up of bronze, marble, and stainlesssteel. The sculpture assumes the form of a spider which Bourgeoisuses to pay tribute to her mother who was a weaver. According to him,spiders are both protectors and predators. Spiders silk is used tobind prey and construct cocoons depicting both strength andfragility. The sculpture measures over 30 feet high with a dimensionof (895x 980 x 1160 cm) balanced on slender legs showing a poignantvulnerability. It includes 26 marble eggs in a sac, and its thoraxand abdomen comprise of bronze. (Silber, E. 2010)

In conclusion, both the Guggenheim Museum and the Maman sculpture areiconic artworks in Spain. The museum’s aerial floral form isdifferent from the Maman’s spider form. The two are enormous intheir size with different dimensions. Their textures are differentsince they were constructed using different materials.

The sculpture’s bronze and stainless steel building materialcompliment the museum’s exterior titanium. Additionally,juxtaposing the bronze material and musculature of the sculpture withthe unique and contemporary design of the museum highlights thetraditional and classical background of Guggenheim. (Silber, E.,2010). The gigantic structure with tall legs allows spectators towalk beneath and around it as they explore the museum along the riverand gives a fantastic view from the bridge.


Silber, E. (2010). Maman in Context. Washington UniversityUndergraduate Research Digest, Vol. 5, Issue 2.