Sculpture in 2011, before restoration
|Year||1929, 2012-2014 (Restored)|
|Owner||University of Illinois|
The Alma Mater is a bronze statue by sculptor Lorado Taft, a beloved symbol of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The 10,000-pound statue depicts a mother-figure wearing academic robes and flanked by two attendant figures representing "Learning" and "Labor", after the University's motto "Learning and Labor."Sited at the corner of Green and Wright Streets at the heart of the campus, the statue is an iconic figure for the university and a popular backdrop for student graduation photos. It is appreciated for its romantic, heraldic overtones and warmth of pose. The statue was removed from its site at the entrance to the university for restoration in 2012 and was returned to its site in the spring of 2014.
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.
A statue is a free-standing sculpture in which the realistic, full-length figures of persons or animals or non-representational forms are carved in a durable material like wood, metal, or stone. Typical statues are life-sized or close to life-size; a sculpture that represents persons or animals in full figure but that is small enough to lift and carry is a statuette or figurine, while one more than twice life-size is a colossal statue.
Lorado Zadok Taft was an American sculptor, writer and educator. Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois, in 1860 and died in his home studio in Chicago in 1936. Taft was the father of US Representative Emily Taft Douglas, father-in-law to her husband, US Senator Paul Douglas, and a distant relative of US President William Howard Taft.
The Alma Mater is a bronze figure of a woman in academic robes. She stands in front of a stylized throne, or klismos, with her arms outstretched in welcome. The attendant figure "Labor" is a male who stands to her proper right and wears a blacksmith's apron. At his feet lies a sheaf of papers. The proper left figure "Learning" is a female robed a classical gown with a sun bas-relief on front. Learning and Labor extend their hands in a handshake over the throne.The work stands approximately 13-feet tall. The granite base carries three inscriptions:
A klismos or klismos chair is a type of ancient Greek chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs.
The long flowerbed stretching from the front of the Alma Mater to the corner of Green Street and Wright Street is known as the Alma Mater Plaza.
Lorado Taft wrote in correspondence that he began sculpting on the theme of "Labor and Learning" while home from Paris in 1883, after having graduated from the University of Illinois in 1879.Taft envisioned a sculpture that students would climb on and, indeed, climbing on the statue and sitting on the throne have become campus traditions.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.
The 1883 piece was a relief with just two figures and was not preserved.He began to seek funding for the project in 1916, a year after Daniel Chester French's Alma Mater was unveiled at Columbia University. Taft was familiar with French's reserved, seated Alma Mater treatment and desired to create a more generous and "cordial" figure suitable for a Midwest mother." He began to correspond that year about the work, writing of it on a grand scale and in terms of the figures in position, pose and dress. The central matriarch would stand "at least twelve feet high" and risen from her throne, advancing a step with outstretched arms, "a gesture of generously greeting her children." On the theme of the motto, he would pose two more figures on the same scale yet subordinate. He based Learning on Lemnia Athena as an heraldic gesture, clasping hands with a sturdy figure of Labor over the back of the chair. The subordination of figures was accomplished by sculpting them "with less accent" so as to make them appear "out of focus." According to financier Roland R. Conklin, an alumnus of the class of 1880, an initial completion date of October, 1918 was pushed back due to Taft's other commissions. Having secured the necessary patronage, Taft and Conklin announced the gift on November 27, 1916. The plaster cast was presented at the annual convocation of the Alumni Association at 3:00 PM on June 13, 1922. So although the plaque beneath has stated the statue was conceived in 1922, it was nearly half a century in the making.
Daniel Chester French, one of the most prolific and acclaimed American sculptors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is best known for his design of the monumental statue of Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.
Alma Mater is a bronze sculpture by Daniel Chester French which is located on the steps leading to the Low Memorial Library on the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City. It is a personification of the traditional image of the University as an alma mater, or "nourishing mother". French designed the statue in 1901 and installed it in September, 1903. It was donated in memory of alumnus Robert Goelet of the Class of 1860 by his wife, Harriette W. Goelet. Alma Mater has become a symbol of the university.
Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 near the Upper West Side region of Manhattan, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.
The Alma Mater was cast in 1929 by the American Art Bronze Foundry with materials paid for by donations by the Alumni Fund and the classes of 1923-1929,and with time donated by the sculptor himself. Taft insisted that his aim was not personal glory: he wished that his signature appear on the bronze and nowhere else, and even spoke decidedly of forgoing the dedication ceremony. But attend he did, and at the statue's dedication on June 11, 1929, the university bestowed on Taft an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
For 33 years, the statue's provisional location was on the south campus behind Foellinger Auditorium, but the Alumni Association moved Alma Mater to Altgeld Hall on August 22, 1962, despite student dissent.The Daily Illini protested the new location as in the "worst possible taste; it makes the Alma Mater a debased, commercial ‘advertisement’ for the University.” Taft, whose father was the first geology professor at the University, lived for many years in Champaign at 601 E. John Street, less than two blocks from the site at Altgeld.
On August 7, 2012, the statue was removed for a planned, $100,000 restoration to repair surface corrosion, cracks, and water penetration into the sculpture.According to the campus historic preservation officer, a previous 1981 attempt to waterproof the statue by university staff had the unintended effect of sealing water inside the sculpture, causing serious internal damage. The statue was restored by Conservation Sculpture and Objects Studio Inc. of Forest Park, Illinois.
The Alma Mater was expected to return before the commencement for the Class of 2013. [ citation needed ]However, the director of the restoration, Andrzej Dajnowski, reported that the damage was worse than original estimates and that the timeline was to be extended. Restoration costs tripled original estimates to more than $360,000. The statue was not returned until April 2014. Rumors amongst the student body speculated that the statue had actually been damaged, lost, or stolen.
Anticipating student reaction to the statue's absence for the 2013 commencement, the University announced extensive plans to provide alternative photo opportunities, including replica statues by School of Art and Design to be placed around campus, green screen photos for a virtual photo with the statue, and improving other landmarks on the campus.
The University decided to restore the original bronze color of the statue rather than leave the natural green patina that is associated with the image.Initially, the restoration committee had not announced a decision on the issue. The oxidation was removed by laser, and the metal was sealed with a wax compound.
The Alma Mater has long been a public symbol of the University of Illinois. Her image is currently the profile image for the official University Twitter account, figures prominently on the University website, and the statue is featured on the i-Card, the official university identification card for the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus.
The statue is sometimes adorned to reflect current events. In 2005, during the Final Four, the Alma Mater sported an Illini jersey. In late 2007, the Alma Mater was decorated with a variety of red, orange, and blue roses to signify the Illinois football team's 2008 Rose Bowl appearance. In 2010, the Alma Mater was decorated with a UIUC cap and gown custom-made by Herff Jones to signify the University's graduation exercises.
In the 2012-13 absence of the statue, it was popular for students to don costumes mimicking the Alma Mater's robes and pose on the empty granite base.
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Alma mater is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university, school, or college that one formerly attended. In US usage, it can also mean the school from which one graduated. The phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students. Fine arts will often depict educational institutions using a robed woman.
James Earle Fraser was an American sculptor during the first half of the 20th century. His work is integral to many of Washington, D.C.'s most iconic structures.
The Eternal Indian, sometimes called the Black Hawk Statue, is a 48-foot sculpture by Lorado Taft located in Lowden State Park, near the city of Oregon, Illinois. Dedicated in 1911, the statue is perched over the Rock River on a 77-foot bluff overlooking the city.
The Main Quadrangle at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign comprises the main campus of the university. It is a major quadrangle surrounded by buildings of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) and is the center of campus activities.
Fountain of Time, or simply Time, is a sculpture by Lorado Taft, measuring 126 feet 10 inches (38.66 m) in length, situated at the western edge of the Midway Plaisance within Washington Park in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. This location is in the Washington Park community area on Chicago's South Side. Inspired by Henry Austin Dobson's poem "Paradox of Time", and with its 100 figures passing before Father Time, the work was created as a monument to the first 100 years of peace between the United States and the United Kingdom, resulting from the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. Although the fountain's water began running in 1920, the sculpture was not dedicated to the city until 1922. The sculpture is a contributing structure to the Washington Park United States Registered Historic District, which is a National Register of Historic Places listing.
The Soldiers' Monument is a memorial consisting of three statues, one in bronze and two in marble by sculptor Lorado Taft, grouped around an exedra designed by the architectural firm of Pond and Pond. It is located in Oregon, Illinois, the county seat of Ogle County, Illinois. It was dedicated in 1916. The sculpture is part of the Oregon Commercial Historic District. The district was designated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 2006.
The Eagle's Nest Art Colony, the site known in more modern times as the Lorado Taft Field Campus, was founded in 1898 by American sculptor Lorado Taft on the bluffs flanking the east bank of the Rock River, overlooking Oregon, Illinois. The colony was populated by Chicago artists, all members of the Chicago Art Institute or the University of Chicago art department, who gathered in Ogle County to escape the summer heat of Chicago. The colony complex has been used as a field campus for Northern Illinois University since 66 acres (27 ha) of Lowden State Park were turned over to the university by the state of Illinois.
Lowden State Park is an Illinois state park on 207 acres (84 ha) in Ogle County, Illinois, United States. The park was named after Governor Frank Orren Lowden. Governor Lowden had served Illinois during World War I. Lowden State Park is home to the Black Hawk Statue, by artist Lorado Taft. Lowden State Park was closed to the public due to budget cuts from November 30, 2008 until February 26, 2009.
The Lorado Taft Midway Studios are a historic artist studio complex at South Ingleside Avenue and East 60th Street, on the campus of the University of Chicago on the South Side of Chicago. The architecturally haphazard structure, originating as two converted barns and a Victorian house, was used from 1906 to 1929 as the studio of Lorado Taft (1860-1936), one of the most influential sculptors of the period. A National Historic Landmark, it now houses the university's visual arts department.
The Solitude of the Soul refers to one of three known works of sculpture of that name by the American sculptor Lorado Taft, a Midwesterner born in 1860, who was active in the Chicago area from 1885 until his death in 1936. The accompanying photographs show the best-known version, carved in marble and dated 1914, which is among works of American sculpture on display in the Roger McCormick Memorial Court of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Pioneers, also known as Pioneers, is a bronze sculpture in Central Park in Elmwood, Illinois. The sculpture is one of several works by Lorado Taft in Elmwood, his birthplace. Taft was a prominent Chicago-based sculptor with a national reputation for his monuments and fountains, including works designed for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. He donated The Pioneers to Elmwood under the condition that the city pay for its casting and mounting.
Altgeld Hall, located at 1409 West Green Street in Urbana, Illinois on the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC) campus, was built in 1896–97 and was designed by Nathan Ricker and James McLaren White of the University's architecture department in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Planning for the building began during the Illinois governorship of John Peter Altgeld. The building was originally the University Library, and received major additions in 1914, 1919, 1926, and 1956. From 1927 to 1955 it was used by the College of Law, and from 1955 on by the Department of Mathematics and the Mathematics Library. The University Chime in the bell tower – which marks the hours, half hours, and quarter hours and plays a ten-minute concert every school day from 12:50–1:00 pm – was installed in 1920. The building was officially named "Altgeld Hall" in 1941.
Emory Pius Seidel was a Chicago sculptor, painter and designer who created numerous sculptures and paintings that are displayed publicly throughout the United States. He was affiliated with the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1925, he was awarded the John C. Shaffer Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago. His work is considered to be part of the "Art Deco" style.
Alice Cooper was an American sculptor.
Julia Bracken Wendt, (1870–1942) a notable American sculptor, was born on June 10, 1871 in Apple River, Illinois, the twelfth of thirteen children in an Irish Catholic famil..
Eternal Silence, alternatively known as the Dexter Graves Monument or the Statue of Death, is a monument in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery and features a bronze sculpture set upon, and backdropped by, black granite. It was created by American sculptor Lorado Taft in 1909.
The history of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign dates back to 1862. U of I is a public research-intensive university in the U.S. state of Illinois. A land-grant university, it is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system. The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign opened on March 2, 1868 and is the second oldest public university in the state, and is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference.
George Washington, also known as the President George Washington Monument, is a bronze sculpture of George Washington by Lorado Taft, installed at the University of Washington campus in Seattle's University District, in the U.S. state of Washington. The statue was dedicated on Flag Day, June 14, 1909, during the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition.