Large Arch Sculpture by Henry Moore

Large Arch with Irwin Home in the background.Located on the library plaza in downtown Columbus, Large Arch was created by Henry Moore, one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. Kids love Large Arch! Perhaps they like its size, green color, or just because it’s fun to walk or run around and through the giant legs. Who can resist? And that’s just what Henry Moore intended. He once said, “As a young sculptor I saw Stonehenge and ever since I've wanted to do work that could be walked through and around."

The First Christian Church, which was designed by Eliel Saarinen, is across the street from the library, and the wide space between the two buildings needed a focal point. The library’s architect, I.M. Pei, suggested that Mr. Moore be asked to design a sculpture that would serve as the centerpiece of the library plaza. Mr. and Mrs. J. Irwin Miller of Columbus gave the sculpture to the library. The Cleo Rogers Memorial Library and the Large Arch sculpture were dedicated in 1971.

Henry Moore designed Large Arch in his studio in England. The sculpture was sandcast in bronze in fifty sections at the Herman Noack foundry in West Germany. The pieces, which vary from .25 to .50 inch in thickness, were welded with invisible seams, and when it was completed, Large Arch was shipped here in a single piece. The sculpture stands 20.5 feet high, measures 12 feet wide, and it weighs 5.5 tons.

Said another way, at its deepest point, Large Arch is about as thick as a watermelon rind. It‘s as tall as three professional basketball players are, if they were to stand on each other’s shoulders. The sculpture’s width is about the same as two average-sized adults standing next to each other, with arms outstretched and their fingers touching. Finally, Large Arch weighs about as much as an elephant.

The sculpture’s green color is due to its patina finish. Patina is a film that occurs naturally on copper or bronze after long exposure to the elements. Sometimes an artist “speeds up” the change in color by using a special process. The patina on Large Arch was created at the foundry and directed personally by the sculptor. Learn more about our architecture and sculpture at the Columbus Visitors Center.

Why not try creating a sculpture? Visit Carve a Free Form Sculpture elsewhere at this site. The process of sculpting will help you understand how an artist creates in three dimensions, and you will learn how Henry Moore introduced the idea of “negative space” to sculpture. Click on any of the small images below for a larger version. Held each summer on the library plaza, Popfest is a concert featuring the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The bottom three pictures are from the 2001 concert.

Cleo Rogers

Memorial Library

Full View of

Large Arch

Side View

Arch in Perspective

Arch Surface Close Up

Top Section of Arch

Church and Arch
Reflection from Library

First Christian Church

Tower thru Arch

Irwin Home and

Plaza Area

Popfest sideview

Audience view Popfest

Picnic area Popfest

© 2001 Marilyn J. Brackney, All Rights Reserved

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