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Beverly Pepper
Ternana Altar, II
cast iron with fabricated steel base
92 3/8 x 47 1/4 x 26 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist and museum purchase made possible by J. B. Chadwick

Since moving to Italy in the 1950s, Beverly Pepper has been deeply affected by the spiritual aura of its ancient ruins, shrines, and churches. This example from her series of sculptures, which she calls "urban altars," is named after the small Umbrian town of Ternana in central Italy. Monumental in scale and covered with a rich, earthy patina, Pepper's altar evokes thoughts of primeval ritual and mystery.