Atlas Sculpture analysis

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AtlasSculpture analysis

AtlasSculpture analysis

BasicBackground of the Atlas sculpture

Atlasis a sculpture that is situated in front of Rockefeller Center in theNew York City. The sculpture is found in Midtown Manhattan across thefifth floor away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The sculpture was asa result of teamwork from two great artists Lee Lawrie, who wascoming up with the idea and was responsible for designing the figureand another artist Rene Champellan, who from his basic sketches ofthe figure, modeled the heroic-sized sculpture ( The Atlas sculpture was then installed in 1937 to whereit is currently situated. This sculpture historically depicted anancient half-human and half-god giant in the ancient Greek religion.Historically, it is believed that Titans was a great Greek leader wholed the Olympic gods in his period. However, he was not successful inthat war as he was eventually defeated and as a result, he wascondemned top carry the world forever on his shoulders by King Zeus(Adams, 2006). This was a form of punishment for his defeat againstthe Olympic gods. Atlas sculpture became famously been appropriatedas a great symbol of the Objectivist movement and has inspired otherartists.

TheFormal Description

Thereare distinct formal elements and principles that have beenincorporated in the Atlas sculpture. The Atlas sculpture is made ofbronze and is in the Art Deco style just as the location where it issituated, the Rockefeller centre. The Atlas is 4.6 meters tall, whilethe entire sculpture is about 14 meters tall and weighs seven tons.Lying on the Atlas shoulders there is a wide and visibly curved beam.This curved beam displays a fresco of the typical traditional symbolsof Venus, Mercury, Mars, Earth, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.However, adjustment to the Earth there is a small visible crescentbeing a symbol of the moon that can be seen over Atlas right forearm.In addition, there are symbols representing the twelve constellationsthat are affixed to one of the sphere’s rings. This is where thesun passes during each year.


Inaddition, the Atlas sculpture is an artwork that can be describedfrom its basic physical elements. The sculpture has been createdusing a technique that is distinct in its form as it conveys directmessages to the audience. The Atlas sculpture therefore can be saidto be a conceptual form of art as it passes the message to the entirehuman generation, that indeed humans are conceptual beings (Adams,2006). This is particularly from the fact that one getssense-perception directly and immediately from viewing the Atlassculpture. However, the audience does most of the thinking during theconception stage incorporating logic, abstraction and language.Therefore the Atlas sculpture has its meaning grounded to the realitythat it conveys (Adams, 2006). The sculpture directly depicts thereality of an idea and directly communicates that to the audience intheir own personal interpretations. In this regard, the Atlassculpture has ideally incorporated a technique that magnifies aperson’s world view to his or her own values which are expressedmost clearly in emotional form.

ArtHistorical Review

TheAtlas sculpture belongs to the objectivism art movement that mainlydeals with re-creating art according to a particular artist’s valuejudgment. Atlas sculpture, just as the other form of artwork in theobjectivism movement depends on the cognitive faculty of man ininterpretation his or her conceptual abilities. This art work isideal as it is able to draw knowledge by means of abstraction and hasthe ability to translate former metaphysical abstraction into aperceptual awareness that is usually immediate. In addition, thisparticular art movement regards many convectional accounts ofaesthetics that misinterpret decorations as art, as being a secondaryissue. This is because according to objectivism movement, one’sidea of beauty in art is typically inevitably informed andconsequently affected by that person’s sense of values.

Atlassculpture has continually been used to instruct mankind in the artand world of astronomy. In this regard, a traveler who might get lostin New York City can use the statue as a compass for direction(Fortier, 2016). Therefore, the sculpture gets its nationalisticvalue from this national pride (Adams, 2006). This is particularly sobecause Atlas shoulders in the North –South axis of the curvedsphere generally points towards a known North Star that is seen inthe city of New York (Fortier, 2016). In addition, the Atlassculpture inspired and influenced a famous novelist named Ayn Rand,who cried upon seeing it in the first time in the city of New York.She went on to publish her novel themed Atlas Shrugged, which latergrew to become a huge success film that was released in 2010(Albanesi, 2010). The novel as well as the film remains famous todate and the theme was conceived from Rand’s thoughts on man’smind in existence. Atlas sculpture remained an epitome of theobjectivism movement that later on began as an informal gathering ofvarious artists as well as artists enthusiast to become a world knownart movement that was spearheaded by artists such as Ayn Rand, wholater introduced the movement in colleges and universities.

PersonalAssessment and Opinion

Ipersonally chose the Atlas sculpture due to the psychological valuethat it portrays (Adams, 2006). There is undoubtedly an immenseweight that Atlas seems to be having on his shoulders. Despite thisfact, he seems unrelenting in his function of continuing carrying theburden, probably he has no choice or the fruits are sweeter. I canrelate this sculpture to my current personal life and values as I ama mother of three kids, a wife, student and a professional. All theseseem like a huge weight on my shoulders. To add more weight, I haveno choice but to carry as much as I can. All my personalresponsibilities are all demanding my attention. More demanding isthat I am expected to have good results on these responsibilities.This outcome depends on how I perform in each one of them.

Everyaspect of my personal life is important to me and it equally requiresample time and enough investments of resources, my time and energy.At the end of the day, it all seems like a heavy burden on myshoulders as I am only human to feel the weight. In this regard,there is an emotional connection between my personal life and theAtlas sculpture that seems to be extremely wary. There is evidence ofblood draining from his body, perhaps, the weight that has got thebest of him as he uses the last ounces of his energy. My personalinterpretation of the Atlas sculpture therefore is that it encouragesme to carry my responsibilities. The sculpture also illustrates to methat I am indeed not alone in the struggle of lifting weights on myshoulders. Therefore, I get the inspiration that I should not giveup, but should continue with the struggle until I attain goodresults.


Adams,L. (2006). AHistory of Western Art.New York: McGraw-Hill Education

Albanesi,D. (2010). Capturingthe Spirit of Atlas Shrugged.Retrieved from,&lt 17thMarch, 2016.

Fortier,A. (2016). Lover’sA Historical Guide to New York City.New York: Routledge

RockefellerCentre. Atlas.Retrieved From,&lt 17thMarch, 2016