Quadriga: The Water Horse

The four panels of “Quadriga: Elements of State” by MaryBeth Garrigan were inspired by the gilded copper sculpture situated atop the portico of the Minnesota State Capitol entitled “Progress of the State” by Daniel Chester French and Edward Potter. As in the original sculpture, Garrigan depicts the classic elements of water, fire, air, and earth as horses in her acrylic on canvas panels, translated into traditional Venetian smalti glass mosaic for this installation at MSP Airport by Miotto Mosaics Art Studios. In contrast to the original sculpture, Garrigan’s horses, and the elements that they represent, are unbridled as they swirl across the picture plane, suggesting a delicate balance between the powers of government, agriculture, industry, natural resources, and quality of life in Minnesota.

Artist Statement: The Water Horse rides on the waves of Minnesota’s 10,000 glacial lakes and the westerly winds that bring life-giving rain. Water is such a significant part of Minnesota’s culture; it is even in the origins of the state’s name, Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota phrase for “land where the waters reflect the clouds.”

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