When rushing to their next class, students may tend to look past all of the history on campus. However, for those who walk through Hamilton Hall may find it almost impossible to ignore the large statue. The statue of Greek mathematician Anatolius is still a relatively new addition to the vast collection of sculptures and statues scattered throughout McMaster.
Created over a span of two years, numerous faculty members and Hamilton artists Bryan Kanbara and Brian Kelly collaborated on the sculpture to create a piece which appealed to other members of the McMaster community, not just those who thrive in mathematics.
“The sculpture represents Anatolius of Alexandria, a 2 A.D. mathematician who was [canonized] for his peace-making activity,” said Kanbara. “This adds a human-ness to the theme of mathematics and gives it a poetic glow.”
The artists wanted the sculpture to represent the fact that mathematics was predominantly experienced in class. The three-piece sculpture has mathematical equations covering the majority of its body.
Months prior to the unveiling in January 2008, faculty began visiting the studio where the sculpture was held, writing their own equations on the robes, and primary school students’ schoolwork was projected onto the sculpture and drawn on. These equations vary in difficulty, representing how all different people have partaken in mathematics.
Comprised using old-fashion methods at the two artists James Street North studio, the sculpture was pieced together, with wood, Styrofoam, epoxy resin, fiberglass, latex and spray enamel paint making up the body.
Artistically, the sculpture is a unique combination of different styles. Some areas are statuesque, while others are more abstract. The elements of the stature were meant to contrast the modern architecture of the interior of Hamilton Hall, officially known as the James Stewart Center.
The globe which hovers over the sculpture is a common symbol associated with Anatolius and the book the sculpture is holding is a James Stewart textbook, the sponsor of the creation. The cherub, found a level above the main portion of the statue, acts as another reflection of the mathematician’s sainthood, extending a halo down upon the figure.
The sculpture currently rests in a light well within Hamilton Hall, making it a very distinct sight for visitors of the building.
“We wanted Anatolius to be a surprising encounter for first time viewers,” said Kanbara. “And a comforting, large presence for frequenters of the building.”