This shoulder-high bronze sculpture of a wild boar will one day make its home on the UW campus. The university's works of art committee has tentatively chosen a site for it (near Laurel Creek across from the campus centre) and is now looking for funding to have it erected and the surroundings suitably landscaped. Meanwhile, the bronze sits in central stores. It was donated to the math faculty's Descartes Foundation by former math professor Dr. Henry Crapo. The Original is an ancient Greek marble sculpture which is now in a gallery in Florence; this casting was made in 1962 from a seventeenth-century mould, and is valued at $12,000 for insurance purposes.
Barbara McEwen (left) and Pat Lewis of the arts centre make friends with the wild boar sculpture temporarily installed in Modern Languages earlier this month. Donated to UW's Descartes Foundation by former math professor Dr. Henry Crapo, the bronze boar (based on an ancient Greek marble) has been in storage while the works of art committee tries to figure out where to install it. It's supposed to have fountain and surrounding landscaping, but no funds are available to arrange that, says the committee's chairman, Ernie Lappin of physical planning. Despite the lack of water, the pool area in front of the shoulder-high beast has been attracting pennies and nickels, and one day last week a Mil-Bone dog biscuit. Marlene Bryan, also of the arts centre, has been collecting the money on behalf of the committee, but denies having eaten the dog biscuit.
Title says . . . "Warning: Don't look into a solar eclipse or else you will look like this!"
An unattached boar, even one weighing 700 pounds, is always a target for pranks. In the fall of 1991 he was kidnapped by Engineers and forced to masquerade as dog, which he did with his usual flair and inimitable panache. After this a search began in earnest for a permanent site.
The boar needs a new home, out of the Modern Languages building and somewhere it can be fastened in place with bolts and concrete. And Ann Roberts, of UW's fine arts department, wants suggestions: where should it go?
The bronze boar sculpture has lived in Modern Languages since 1979, after it was donated to the Descartes Foundation, an offshoot of UW's math faculty, by former math professor Dr. Henry Crapo.
Because of its location the boar has acquired a reputation as a mascot for the faculty of arts, Roberts says, and it's been a tempting target for pranksters. Among them: engineering students who carried it off last term. The sculpture is currently in storage, waiting for the paint they applied to be cleaned off, at Engineering Society expense.
Roberts said she's leaning towards putting the boar somewhere away from arts--perhaps in the Davis Centre quadrangle--but is also willing to hear arguments in favour of the arts quad or some other location. "The fine arts department would love to place it outside East Campus Hall!" she added.
An outdoor location is preferred, partly because that will make it possible to sink a concrete base from which the sculpture can't easily be dislodged. It will probably be too expensive to install plumbing and make the boar into a fountain, as originally intended, but the base could form a flowerbed rather than a pool, Roberts suggested.
The boar casting, which weighs about 700 pounds, was made for Crapo in 1962. The mold for the casting was made in the seventeenth century from an ancient Greek marble sculpture which is now in a gallery in Florence.
Roberts said the dean of arts, Dr. Brian Hendley, asked her to take charge of finding UW's boar a new home, and she'd like advice in the very near future.
The boar is about to get a home in front of the Modern Languages building - probably.
"We wish to give the UW community the opportunity to comment on our plans before they are fixed in concrete, so to speak," says Pat Aplevich of the dean of arts office.
"The dean is committed," she reports, "to keeping the university community informed of the plans to site the boar permanently in front of the Modern Languages Building in the crux of the ramp. (Mounting it on the stairs has been discussed, but central stores would have too much trouble accessing the building when on delivery.)
"Works of art take on unusual significance when they are about to be placed permanently."
The 700-pound bronze boar has been adopted by some as the arts faculty mascot, especially because it was so long a fixture in the Modern Languages foyer. Students in the 1980's used it as a meeting place, rubbed its nose for good luck before exams and, if they were older, let it babysit their children, who were always fascinated by the small creatures at its base.
The original of the bronze is an ancient Greek marble sculpture, "Cinghiale", now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. A bronze casting made by Pietro Tacca in 1620 sits on the south side of the Straw Market in Florence, where for generations passers-by have rubbed his nose for luck. The seventeenth-century sculptor completely changed the base of the simpler Greek statue, adding a pool surrounded by plants, frogs, snakes and turtles.
Five bronze castings from the Tacca sculpture, complete with its reptiles, were made about 1962 by Marinelli of Florence; the fifth was done for Dr. Henry Crapo, who was a faculty member in pure mathematics at UW from 1965 to 1977 as well as a patron of the arts.
When Crapo left Waterloo he donated the casting to the UW-based Descartes Foundation. (The other five castings are now in Florence; Sydney, Australia; Victoria, British Columbia; and California.) The mold is still in existence, and a new casting could be produced at an estimated cost of $25,000.
Aplevich reports that the Arts Alumni Group "is very supportive of the plan to site the boar, as it coincides with our wish to create a greater sense of community, history and tradition in the arts faculty. The boar is a colourful part of our past."
So the plan is that on Saturday, June 4, as part of the annual Waterloo Weekend that brings alumni back to campus, arts will hold a "Celebrating the Boar" party for alumni and the university community.
Says Aplevich: "We plan a small dedication ceremony at the site when anecdotes will be told and tributes made. We have invited Henry Crapo to attend. We hope the boar will be in place by then and that we can do an unveiling.
"After the ceremony all will be invited to a pig roast barbecue."
The Arts Alumni Group plans to hold a raffle to raise some of the funds to pay for the project. Tickets are to be available later in the spring at three for $5. First prize will be a sculpture by fine arts professor Ann Roberts, who headed a study aimed at finding a permanent home for the boar.