Title: Marriage Ring (Wedding Ring)
Dimensions: 9 × 21 1/2 × 7 in. (22.9 × 54.6 × 17.8 cm)
Marks: Bottom stamp " Ring of Life" 1941 Reproduction By F.W.92 Iowa State University
Classification: Art on Campus Preparatory Studies and Maquettes
Credit Line: Gift of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Iowa State University. In the Art on Campus Preparatory Studies and Maquette Collection, Christian Petersen Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Petersen's sculpture is a shallow circular pool ringed by a low concrete wall which was ornamented by three small terra cotta children, played at the edge of the of the water. The two boys and one girl were intended to represent the "jewels" of marriage. Originally, water from a small fountain trickled through the hands of the girl before it flowed into the pool. As in the Dairy Industry building, Roberts Hall and the Memorial Union, Petersen was not content too foshion simply a self-contained sculpture, but instead developed an entire complex, a practice that may relate to today's site-specific art. He often designed the entire space and landscape surrounding his sculpture, hoping to position it in an ideal setting. Unfortunately, some of his original designs have been altered over the years. This sculpture in particular has undergone misfortunes. The heads were knocked off on several occasions and, at one point, seemed to be lost completely (they eventually re-appeared). Water is no longer regularly integrated into the world and the plantings have gone through numerous incarnation. Finally, in 1991, the original terra cotta children were taken for their protection into the lobby of MacKay Hall, home of the department of Human Development, which replaced the old college of Home Economics. In their place at poolside were substituted concrete castings.