Alexander Calder’s non-kinetic sculptures, some monumental in scale, became known as “stabiles.” One of his more well-known stabiles is this one, known as Shiva. It measures 18 feet tall and 22 feet long and is painted “Calder red,” a signature hue that imparts a fiery glow to the sculpture during the day.
Calder’s sculptures are characterized by a dynamic nature that suggests real or mythical creatures. Although abstract in shape, Shiva suggests different animal shapes and forms from different angles.
Six-legged stabile. Two of the legs have multiple “arms” extending from them. The sculpture is fabricated from sheets of steel, cut and brightly painted red. The planes of flat steel intersect at angles, giving depth and width to the sculpture. Calder rarely provided details about his works in order to leave the interpretation to the viewer. In this case, it is assumed that Calder named this sculpture after the Hindu deity Shiva, who is often depicted with multiple arms or encircled by flames.