Google Doodle celebrates Alexander Calder’s 113th birthday

Posted on Jul 22 2011 - 1:54pm by Julius

Search engine giant Google has celebrated American artist and sculptor Alexander Calder’s 113th birthday with a new Google Doodle.

The Google Doodle shows a mobile sculpture that was created by Calder. Mobile sculptures have objects hanging from its rods that take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. Motion is used by kinetic art for an artistic effect.

The mobile is a variation of Calder’s The Star, which resembles an abstract fish that has moving sections linked by wires. The interactive doodle can be moved by using the cursor. The doodle can be moved using the latest Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Jared Wierzbicki, one of Google’s software engineers said the doodle was inspired by Calder’s works at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. It is the first Google Doodle to use the HTML 5 canvas.

“This is Google’s first doodle made entirely using HTML5 canvas, so you need to use a modern browser to interact with it. It runs a physics simulation on the mobile’s geometry, and then does real-time 3D rendering with vector graphics. Only recently have browsers advanced to the point where this is possible,” he said.


Alexander Calder is best known for the statue of William Penn at the top of the City Hall tower in Philadelphia. He was born on 22 July 1898 in Pennsylvania, in a family of classically trained and celebrated artists. Calder utilized his genius to dramatically change the course of modern art.

“I like to think Calder would have appreciated today’s doodle, since we’re setting up shapes and abstractions and letting them act on their own,” said Wierzbicki. “Hint: try it out on a laptop with an accelerometer!”

What do you think of today’s Google Doodle?

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