Library Mural
Artist James Sicner merges 800 images, 5,000 languages to create a unique tribute to the evolution of art
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Wide shot of Sicner montage mural

The circular wall surrounding Coates University Library's central staircase, fittingly, represents a peak of artistic creativity on campus.

In 1979, Trinity commissioned mural artist James Sicner to apply his collage technique to a pair of 15’ x 80’ surfaces on the inside and outside of this stairwell.

This act of creation was painstaking for Sicner, who worked on the mural at night while Trinity students slept. After two years of research and more than three years of labor, the finished product, "Man's Evolving Images: In Printing and Writing," was ready for viewing in 1983.

As the largest montage mural in the world, the work drew from The Mexican calendar stone, the Magna Carta, the Rosetta Stone, the Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible, the imprint of the first lunar footsteps, and symbols from alphabets of 5,000 languages, as part of the 800 separate images in the work. The mural also depicts literary works, hieroglyphics, illustrations, and cartography in diverse historical forms. This imagery celebrates many cultures and their ideas and values, which makes the mural particularly well suited for its setting in a liberal arts institution like Trinity.

Students study in 2009 with mural backdrop behind staircase

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