31 Jan HOWARD NEWMAN: THE PROCESSIONAL SCEPTER FOR THE YALE FACULTY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES November 2021
Commissioned by Yale Dean Tamar Gendler for the recently created Faculty of Arts and Sciences, this scepter was designed to be carried in major institutional ceremonies, such as graduation. As such, it represents all fifty departments embracing the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological and Physical Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science.
While necessarily loaded with symbolism, a ceremonial object of this type has first some functional requirements: it must be of a size visible from a distance, with a shape that conveys the appropriate gravitas, while still being of a form easily handled in a dynamic public setting. For these reasons, the scepter is a combination of a long shaft topped by a bulbous crown that can be grasped or cradled by the bearer.
As the crowning component of the scepter the bulb serves as the object’s focus and thus the element that not only carries the necessary symbolism representing the Arts and Sciences, but also a range of institutional motifs: it is filled with stones revered by the Renape, the indigenous tribe of the New Haven area; and incised with—among other symbols—the Faculty Coat of Arms, including the cross, the ermine, and the mythical Yale Beast.
Howard Newman is a Newporter who, as a painter, sculptor, and metalworker, specializes in the restoration of fine art objects, sculpture and antique mechanisms. He received his training at Miami University of Ohio in Architecture, Anthropology and Sociology, and at the Rhode Island School of Design in Industrial Design, Silversmithing, and Metal Sculpture. Following a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Italy in 1971, Newman returned to America where he continued making bronze sculptures, paintings and drawings. His work is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and has been represented by galleries and dealers in New York, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and Boston. Howard and his wife, Mary, live and work in Newport, in a house filled with studios and workshops.
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