Pulcinella II, 1965-66
University of Chicago
Courtyard, Cummings Life Science Center
920 East 58th Street
A character from the Italian commedia dell’arte, Pulcinella is a hunch-backed, poor worker who has little to lose and suffers abuse at the hands of his superiors. This ten-foot high bronze statue by Sorel Etrog (born 1933) features an upright sword-like shape extending from round forms, suggestive of genitalia, that is restrained and hampered in its efforts by twisted and interwoven links. The smooth texture of the round forms contrasts with the rough surfaces elsewhere.
Etrog was born in Romania and spent his youth under Nazi occupation. He emigrated to Israel in 1950 and was awarded a scholarship from Brooklyn Museum Art Institute in 1958 to study “primitive” art. He settled in Canada in 1963 and was named a National Living Treasure in 1994. This work was gifted to the University by Nathan Cummings, founder of Consolidated Foods Corporation and philanthropist noted for his generosity to Michael Reese Hospital and the University of Chicago.