College of LAS « Illinois

Secrets of Spurlock

Laocoon

This piece of art inspired the sculptor of the Alma Mater, Lorado Taft, to create the most prominent statue on campus.

What is it?

Answer: The statue of Trojan priest Laocoon and his two sons.

Its importance to the University lies less in its age and more in its significance as a piece of campus history that students walk past nearly every day. The cast arrived at the University shattered into pieces, and as a 14-year-old boy, Taft was drafted with his father to help put it back together. Working on this project inspired Taft to become a sculptor.

Image: Plaster Cast Reproduction of Greek Statue of Laocoon and His Sons (1900.13.0001), courtesy of the Spurlock Museum.