April 22, 2022

In delicate three-day operation, two-ton bronze sculpture removed from VUH lobby, packed for shipping to Chicago

Cylinder in a Prism by Italian-born artist Virginio Ferrari was handled with care by expert crew

Artist Virginio Ferrari’s bronze sculpture Cylinder in a Prism in the center of the Vanderbilt University Hospital lobby in this undated file photo from the 1980s.

Photos by Erin O. Smith, Susan urmy and Donn Jones

As part of the ongoing renovation of the Vanderbilt University Hospital lobby, the two-story tall, two-ton bronze sculpture Cylinder in a Prism by the artist Virginio Ferrari, which had been at the center of the lobby since the building opened in 1980, has been removed and returned to the sculptor for refurbishment.

Over the course of three days in April (with a one-day break in between), work crews carefully removed the work and used cranes to load it onto a truck for transport to Ferrari’s Chicago studio.

After its refurbishment, the bronze and rosa aurora marble work will later be returned to the university.

VUMC photographers Erin O. Smith, Susan Urmy and Donn Jones documented the sculpture’s removal.

As evidence of the ongoing renovation of the VUH lobby surrounds it, the sculpture is still encased in a protective cover as the removal is about to get underway on April 6, day one of the project. Jesse Hale and Spencer McDaniel, museum service technicians with Art UP Nashville, work on a platform that will allow the massive bronze work to be transported from the building. Photo by Erin O. Smith   
On day two of the project, April 7, the protective cover has been removed and the disassembling of the sculpture begins. In this view, the two parts of Cylinder in a Prism are visible, with the round “cylinder” piece fitting into the side of the square “prism” portion. Photo by Susan Urmy
The careful disassembly of the artwork continues on day two of the project. Photo by Susan Urmy
Day three: The two-ton bronze sculpture has been carefully placed in its shipping crate and on this relatively low-traffic Saturday morning, April 9, Richard Holder of Sentry Steel drives the fork lift as it is loaded on to a truck for transport. Photo by Donn Jones
William Plunkett, left, and Darrell Brinkley of Sentry Steel watch carefully as the 4,000-lb. sculpture is lowered onto its transport truck. Photo by Donn Jones
Successfully packed for shipping, Cylinder in a Prism is on it way back to the studio of  artist Virginio Ferrari for refurbishment before its planned return to the university. Photo by Donn Jones