Arnaldo Pomodoro: La Sfera Grande on the Cummings Plaza at Guggenheim Pavilion of Mt. Sinai Hospital




Did you know that an Arnaldo Pomodoro sculpture is on the Nathan Cummings Plaza on the Fifth Avenue side of the Guggenheim Pavilion of Mount Sinai Hospital? We were intrigued and found the following information on this commissioned piece in the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine.

“Nathan Cummings, Mount Sinai trustee, 1971 – 1985, commissioned and donated this work to the Medical Center. The founder of the Consolidated Foods Corporation (later the Sara Lee Corporation), Mr. Cummings was an avid art collector and philanthropist. His generosity to Mount Sinai is witnessed today in the Nathan Cummings Basic Sciences Building, the Cummings Atrium and the Cummings Plaza, where the Pomodoro stands. Mr. Cummings died in 1985, but the Nathan Cummings Foundation, established in 1949, continues helping people to this day.”

Arnaldo Pomodoro was born in Italy in 1926. A sculptor with an international reputation, Pomodoro did many similar spheres during this period. At the time of the gift, the artist described the work as a “destruction of form,” with the breaks in the outer wall an expression of “the potential destructiveness that emerges from our era of disillusionment.” The Guggenheim Museum in New York has a smaller sphere by Pomodoro, completed in 1964. The Museum’s description of their work also seems to apply to Mount Sinai’s Sfera:

“Underneath the gleaming skin and solid flesh of the bronze lies a regulating machinery of cogs and gears, which Pomodoro calls “sign systems,” akin to the complex interlocking systems of language or of organic bodies. The sphere not only functions as a geometric shape and analogue of a living body or mineral form, but also suggests the globe of the earth.”

The equatorial rupture produces configurations suggesting land masses, and evokes the earth’s core and desiccated ocean beds. By eliminating frontality, Pomodoro invites the viewer to circle the globe, conveying a sense of uninterrupted rotational movement imitating the orbit of planets.”

“This artwork, perhaps more than any other, has become an important symbol at Mount Sinai. In photographs of the campus, the sphere is often contrasted with the triangular form of the Guggenheim Pavilion. It has also been incorporated as a component of the logo of the Mount Sinai Alumni Association.”

The Guggenheim Pavilion at Mount Sinai Hospital is located 1190 Fifth Avenue, at 100th Street, NYC.