Jean Arp / Hans Arp (September 16, 1886 – June 07, 1966) was one the most prolific, venerated and famous German-French sculptor, painter, and poet. His designs were concrete in nature and he would distort reality to express his political viewpoint in the form of art. Arp had adopted many styles, especially ‘Surrealism’ and ‘Abstractionism.’ He also founded ‘Dadaism.’ Jean’s main interest lied in ‘Surrealism,’ as through it, he could liberally express his philosophical and political opinions. In 1931, he ventured for sculpturing, which while being substantial in nature, also symbolized his particular viewpoint. One such most famous sculpture by Jean Arp is “Cloud Shepherd,” unveiled at the Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, Venezuela, in 1953. The sculpture continues to grace the university.
The Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas is famous for its architectural brilliance and urban planning. This university was exceptionally famous for its massive and prolific art sculptures, all of which were initially planned by architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva. Many sculptors from around the world contributed to this project. Noteworthy among them was “Cloud Shepherd” by Jean Arp. During the construction of the sculpture, the world had just survived from the Second World War. Arp wanted to depict his political viewpoints, which he achieved through this sculpture.
Placed near Plaza Cubierto in the university, this sculpture, made from pure bronze, was quite tangible in nature. This was different from the traditional methods of sculpturing, which were more abstract and deviated from the reality. “Cloud Shepherd” was more real, as it occupied more space, which Arp intended, since he believed that sculpture was a composition like ‘a fruit that grows in man’. This sculpture had clear shape and structure, on which when a sudden gleam of light falls; it illuminates the entire surrounding with its refraction. The curve of the sculpture symbolized the marvels of nature, such as clouds, hills, and lakes to depict his dislike against machines and money, which were the root cause for the wars.
Flavored with ‘Surrealism’ and ‘Dadaism,’ through “Cloud Shepherd,” Hans Arp wanted to express his dislike of the bourgeois capitalist society. Due to its architectural marvel, the site of “Cloud Shepherd,” Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, UNESCO, in 2000, listed it as ‘The World Heritage Site.’ The contribution of Jean Arp for this university project cannot be forgotten, owing to his innovative sculpture “Cloud Shepherd,” a perfect memento to the field of art.