If you have ever been to or seen pictures of the Vatican, you have been exposed to the work of Arnaldo Pomodoro. He is the sculptor behind the large rotating ‘Sphere within a Sphere.’ The 13 feet in diameter Sfera con Sfera sits in the middle of the Courtyard of the Pinecone at the Vatican Museum and initially held my attention because it felt out of place. After walking through a museum of meticulous sculptures and paintings that represent people, culture and religion, you see this piece that is jagged, disruptive and interpretive. At first it reminded me of something that would fall into the earth and destroy it, but as I sat on it for a few minutes I began to appreciate the depth and detail and the idea that the surface isn’t always what it seems and underneath can be great detail and complexity. From what I have read, the inner ball represents the Earth and outer ball represents Christianity, showing Christianity is bigger than Earth. Turns out it is in the right place.
I probably wouldn’t have thought much of the Sfera con Sfera after leaving the museum, but I saw a similar piece in Venice, Italy which caused me to look up Arnaldo Pomodoro. Then I stumbled into one of his sculptures in the Le Meridian lobby in San Francisco and got excited about its familiarity. It turns out there is a sphere at the de Young Museum in San Francisco so I am excited to see that, but if I could see any of his sculptures it would probably be the ‘Sun Disk’ at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Pomodoro also has other roots in the Bay Area having taught at Stanford in 1966 – I wonder if there is any curriculum floating around ….
UPDATE (6/15/13): I made it to the De Young and have added pictures of Sfera #2!
Arnaldo Pomodoro Website: http://www.arnaldopomodoro.it/en