Work > Interactive Work

Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Medicine
Acrylic on steel, wood
72" x 28"

Iowa State University's Parks Library is home to two major murals that were designed by Grant Wood and executed by a group of Iowa artists through the federal Public Works of Art Program in the 1930’s. These murals, entitled “When Tillage Begins” and “Breaking Prairie,” depict a kind of visual timeline of the agricultural, educational, and technological history of Iowa, emphasizing the strengths of Iowan culture through a series of symbolic figurative vignettes. The murals are impressive in their own right – larger than life size figures, minute details depicting the tiniest nuance of prairie grass, farming equipment, or bridge construction. Commissioned by Iowa State President Raymond Hughes in 1933, the murals served to reinvigorate the campus through the celebration of Iowan history (“Breaking Prairie”) and through the illustration of Iowa State’s then current areas of specialty (“When Tillage Begins”): Veterinary Medicine, Farm Crops, Animal Husbandry, Home Economics, Ceramics and Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, and Civil Engineering. Interestingly, Lea Rossen DeLong, author of "When Tillage Begins, Other Arts Follow: Grant Wood and Christian Petersen Murals", gives evidence that Wood intended to create six more murals for Parks Library (specifically for the Reference Room) to celebrate each of the six fine arts (defined at that time to be painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music, and theatre) that “follow” the original nine applied arts.