The Spirit of Spanish Music

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The Spirit of Spanish Music in the Lebus Court of the Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music. Pomona College, Claremont, California, USA.

The Spirit of Spanish Music is a sculpture by Burt William Johnson (25 April 1890—27 March 1927[1]). It was commissioned by the Pomona College class of 1915[2] and placed in the Lebus Court of the Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music at Pomona College, one of a group of buildings conceived for the expansion of Pomona College and built in the mid-1910s by architect Myron Hunt using details of the "ornamental Spanish style".[3] [4]

Burt W. Johnson, working in his studio in February, 1916 on the model for The Spirit of Spanish Music, in a snapshot inscribed for Pomona College Pres. Blaisdell and signed by the sculptor.

This style, and the fact that the building where it stands was intended for the study and performance of music, give the sculpture its name. (Other names for the sculpture sometimes are seen in various sources, including Pastoral Flutist[5] and Youth[6])

The figure itself, a boy in "classic contrapposto stance" playing an elongated flute, was influenced by the 15th century Florentine sculptor Desiderio da Settignano[7] It reflects the overall "Arcadian" theme Hunt intended for Pomona's south campus.[2]

The sculpture's harmony with the building surrounding its courtyard setting was described in 1921 as "happily eloquent of the spirit of the place".[6] "The pose is exquisite," reports another journal of the period, "and the design peculiarly appropriate to the Spanish architecture of the beautiful temple of music it is to adorn."[8] In a lecture on the occasion of the Centennial in 2015 of the statue and the building, art historian George L. Gorse labels the setting "A Pastoral Theatre", and characterizes the sculpture as "Vergilian 'Arcadia' . . . absolutely Vergilian."[7]

The sculpture was cast in bronze by the Gorham Company in Providence, R.I. It is life-size, approximately 137 cm (54 in.) in height. Before being delivered to Claremont and installed in Lebus Court, it was exhibited by the Gorham Company at their gallery on Fifth Avenue in New York, and at the Winter Exhibition at the National Academy.[8]

After part of the fountain collapsed, the statue was removed in early 2015 while repairs were made. Before its return on 14 August 2015, The Spirit of Spanish Music was restored by conservator Donna Williams, including the repair of the boy's broken flute.[9][10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Nancy Dustin Wall. Dictionary of Art and Artists in Southern California Before 1930. Los Angeles: Privately printed, 1975, p.130
  2. ^ a b "1915 Pomona College timeline". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  3. ^ Hunt, Myron, quoted in Elijah Wilson Lyon. The History of Pomona College, 1887-1969. Pomona: The College, 1977, p.151
  4. ^ "The Work of Mr Myron Hunt, F.A.I.A." The Architect and Engineer of California. Volume LIII Number 1, April 1918, p.49 (photograph p.60)
  5. ^ "Pomona College 2015 Campus Master Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 29 September 2017. p.13 (photograph, p.8)
  6. ^ a b Country Life, Volume 41, November 1921, p.69
  7. ^ a b Gorse, George L. "'Little Bridges', Lebus Court and Rembrandt Hall: A Centennial Celebration. Pomona Faculty Publications and Research, 395, 21 September 2015, ; full lecture viewable at - remarks regarding the Spanish Music sculpture are between timemarks 52:17 and 54:29. Retrieved 29 September 2017
  8. ^ a b "The Pacific"., Volume LXVI, Number 46, 1916, page 9. Retrieved 29 September 2017
  9. ^ Pohl, Frances. "The Boy With the Flute is Back".,, 17 August 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2017
  10. ^ Blackstock, Joe (17 June 2016). "Local sculptor gets his spot in the limelight again". Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Retrieved 16 July 2017.

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 34°05′49″N 117°42′50″W / 34.09688°N 117.71384°W / 34.09688; -117.71384