As I walked pass by the horseshoe-shaped courtyard of Agronomy Hall, I saw an eccentric, bronze art sculpture standing firmly in the middle. At first I was pondering what has this statue got to do with Agronomy Hall until I walked closer to get a clearer picture. "Janus Agri Altar." That was the title given to this 14-foot metal structure that serves as a symbol for the Agronomy Hall. Although the sculpture might look very simple and old, the Janus Agri Altar has a deep meaning related to agriculture. As we venture through more on the essential message hidden behind the title of this two-faced icon, the history of this sculpture and the artist who designed, I am sure everyone will learn to appreciate the value of agriculture in life. Beverly Pepper designed this abstract looking structure that serves as an icon to the Agronomy Hall. Pepper is an American born artist who was focusing on painting before she moving forward to building monumental outdoor sculptures around 1960. The Iowa State University commissioned Pepper to create a sculpture for the courtyard of Agronomy Hall that Figure
was formed by the three horseshoe-shaped buildings. (Agronomy Artist of
Administration, General Information, 2010) Although the committee requested a bronze John Deere tractor, Pepper did not agree to it as she felt the tractor would not be able to convey as much message as she wanted to. So she went on researching on antique farming tools and chose a farmer’s spade. Janus Agri Altar is the imaginary formed when Pepper focused on this simple tool to its furthest extreme. Initially, Pepper had a hard time to convince the agronomy faculty to approve her sculpture. However, the explanation and the profound meaning of this sculpture fascinated them and it was approved. In 1968, the 14 x 6 x 1.5-feet sculpture was successfully located at the courtyard of the Agronomy Hall. This bronze made...