Exploring the Sculptures of Harvard

Keren E. Rohe

Chances are you don't always stop and examine the many outdoor works of art we have around Harvard. But the next time you’re trying to end an awkward walk-and-talk with an acquaintance, try heading off in the direction of these outdoor sculptures.

Harvard Bixi (Widener)

This 27-ton marble stele adjacent to Widener Library dates back to imperial China, when it was kept in the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. Alumni involved in Harvard Clubs in China acquired the original stele in 1936 and donated it to the University in honor of the Tercentennial Ceremony. The new inscription translates to a commendation of the Harvard community and its contributions and celebrates the effects of higher education. So you might want to stop sitting on it.

"Four Piece Reclining Figure" (Lamont)

The abstract work by British sculptor Henry Moore was donated to the University in 1981 by David Bakalar ’46. When asked about his particular style of titles, Moore said that he'd rather have the viewer interpret what they’ve seen rather than be told what they’ve seen. So do Moore proud and take another look the next time you stumble dazedly out of a study session in Lamont.

Civil War Memorial (Cambridge Common)

Since it's probably a better idea to walk through Cambridge Common in the daylight, you might as well take a look at this almost 150-year-old stone shrine. Atop the dome is a stone statue of a Civil War soldier; below, a bronze sculpture of President Lincoln. Bronze plaques on the memorial name men from Cambridge who died in the Civil War.

Tanner Fountain (Science Center)

The Tanner fountain is more dynamic than it seems, changing its appearance with the light and emitting steam from the Science Centre’s heating plant in the winter. The fountain, designed by Californian Peter Walker and completed in 1984, has won awards for its innovative basin-less structure.

John Harvard Statue

Not actually John Harvard. Foot is pale yellow for a reason. Reminder that many of you have urinated on an 128-year-old work of art.

"Onion" (Pusey Library)

Perched quietly and unassumingly at the now-closed entrance to Pusey Library, "Onion" is a wrought-iron stabile made by American sculptor Alexander Calder, known as the originator of the artistic mobile. Unfortunately, "Onion" is often mistaken for a leftover construction component next to the ever-darkened door to Pusey.