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Galapagos Tortoise

Tom Knapp (b.1925)

Galapagos Tortoise, 1987


Cast bronze, ed#2/8

Gift of Joanie Holt


Questions to consider when visiting Tom Knapp’s sculpture Galapagos Tortoise:

  • What kind of animal is this?  Is there anything that sets him apart from other animals like him?

  • Is he standing still or moving?  How can you tell?

  • How old do you think he is?  What clues tell you more about his age?

  • The Galapagos tortoise is an endangered species.  Why would it be important to the artist to create a sculpture of this animal?

  • Why do you think the artist chose to cast the tortoise in bronze?  Does the material work well for this sculpture?  How would the sculpture be different if the tortoise was made out of a different material?


Knapp has claimed, “Vitality, movement, is the most important thing in sculpture, not detail.”   The incised patterning on the shell of the tortoise and the expressive tilt of his neck suggests the sense of movement that Knapp appreciates most in sculpture.    

Can you move like a tortoise?  Play this clip from Camille Saint Saenz's Carnival of the Animals and move along to the music.

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