Virginio Ferrari (b. 1937)

Image of Virginio Ferrari's Dialogo sculpture outside of Pick Hall

Installed 1971

Bronze on limestone base
Height: 192 in. (487.7 cm)

Located at Albert Pick Hall for International Studies
5828 S. University Avenue

Gift of Albert Pick and the Polk Brothers Foundation of Chicago

Artist Profile





“Ferrari is a peaceful sculptor whose works, in one way or another, have been consistently in praise of life.”
Professor Harold Haydon, June 14th, 1971

Created in honor of Chicago businessman Albert Pick Jr., and as a symbol for the Department of International Studies inside Pick Hall, Virginio Ferrari’s 1971 Dialogo is an arresting sight just around the corner from the University’s Main Quadrangle. Modeled on campus while Ferrari was the University’s sculptor-in-residence and subsequently cast in bronze in Ferrari’s home city of Verona, Italy, Dialogo (“Dialogue”) represents worlds coming together. He said:

What I want to call to mind in this sculpture is the four cardinal points. Three of the four forms emerge as strong, geometric elements, representing the diversity, pain and repression of the life of any continent. They rise up slowly and become soft and delicate; two of the forms almost touch in the center in a manner of caressing; the third... giving the impression of protection and security of the life of tomorrow. The fourth form represents a big wave...symbolic of the water that surrounds and unites all the continents.

At the sculpture’s unveiling during the dedication ceremony for Pick Hall on June 14th, 1971, then-President Edward Levi spoke about the University’s burgeoning research relationships with international institutions. He closed by saying, “the organized cruelty of this century makes clear that appreciation and acquaintanceship are insufficient. The close quarters of the world make it essential that we not only understand others, but also understand ourselves.”


Written by Zoe Kauder-Nalebuff, AB in Geography, 2016


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Related Links

Ferrari Studios


Harris, Chauncy D., Box 2, Folder 7, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Italian Cultural Institute (Chicago, IL). Virginio Ferrari: Istituto Italiano Di CulturaChicago. Chicago: Istituto Italiano Di Cultura, 1995

Wiesenthal, Steven. Personal Interview. 13 May 2015.

Further Reading

Pridmore, J., Kiar, P., & Randel, D. M. (2006). The University of Chicago: An Architectural Tour. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Archival Materials

Photograph of Albert Pick's granddaughter, Pauline Ross, unveiling Dialogo

Source: University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf2-07277r, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Photograph of the sculpture in process

Source: University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf2-07283r, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Photograph of the sculpture during the final days of construction around Pick Hall

Source: LUNA Library, UChicago Public Art Collection and Archive; photo by McShane-Fleming Studios, Chicago, Illinois