Tony Smith
Moses
1975

LOCATION
Seattle Center Sculpture Garden

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle Center 1 % for Art funds, Contemporary Arts Council, Virginia Wright Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and AIA - Seattle Chapter


Tony Smith's abstract sculpture Moses is a collection of oblique planes and geometric volumes united to create a multifaceted surface in black steel. The artwork gets its name from the parallel upright forms that suggest horns in Michelangelo's Moses. His representation came from a mistranslation of a Hebrew word that described Moses as having rays of light coming from his head. Smith's sculpture perpetuates this curiosity.

The Seattle Art Museum's Contemporary Art Council first commissioned a plywood mock-up of Moses in 1968 for an exhibition planned for the organization's Art Museum Pavilion. This temporary model was exhibited each of the following years at Bumbershoot until 1972. At this time the Art in Public Places Committee recommended to the Seattle Arts Commission that a permanent version of Moses be created in steel. Upon its installation in 1975, the sculpture became the first major public art acquisition under Seattle's 1% for Art program.