Artist: Jacques Lipchitz
Location: Municipal Services Building Plaza, Broad Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
Bronze, on granite base
Height approximately 30' (base 12')
Government of the People is located in front of the Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia. It seeks to portray the artist's ideas regarding the struggle for freedom and the push to ensure democracy. It follows on heroic themes that are also seen in two other works, Prometheus Strangling the Vulture and The Spirit of Enterprise. The city of Philadelphia originally commissioned Jacques Lipschitz to create the piece. When the City decided not to follow through with the project, the Fairmount Park Art Association took over. It oversaw the casting of the artwork, the molds being in Italy at the time, and installed the artwork in 1976.
Lipchitz was recognized as the most significant 'Cubist' sculptor of his time. His work was widely viewed as more rounded in form than traditional cubists and it portrayed his interests in myths, epic tales and religious symbolism. The sculpture bears resemblance to a "conglomeration" of human forms. From the base of the statue to the very top, one sees a number of elements: a family group (parents and child), a young couple and an older couple. Each element represents the building blocks of humanity and each phase of their progress through life. Each block builds on the other and implies a process of struggle, support and dedication, and achievement.