Source of Light

Sorgente di Luce (Source of Light), created specifically for the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) by the artist Giuseppe Penone, is Ithra’s largest permanent art commission and celebrates the history, creativity, and energy that is at the core of the Kingdom’s major new cultural landmark.

Penone’s most monumental and spectacular commission, the form of The Source of Light and its location within the Center have a symbolic function, representing the “Prosperity Well” where Saudi oil was first discovered and extracted.  


The work vividly illustrates life springing forth from the ground and reaching majestically toward the sky, a poetic allusion to how Saudi Arabian society has grown and flourished as a result of the discovery, at this very site, of a wealth of natural energy contained in the telluric depths of the earth below.


The 90-foot tall work consists of three towering bronze trees that “grow” from the base of ‘The Source’. The trees are supported by the branches of a fourth larger tree, which is divided into hollow sections, forming a telescope-like viewing space that projects up towards the sky and appears to levitate above the pool.



Giuseppe Penone


Giuseppe Penone (b. 1947, Italy) has been at the forefront of artistic innovation and achievement, since starting in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his graduation from the Italian Academy of Fine Art and his membership in the avant-garde movement known as Arte Povera, which he exemplified. Penone launched his career by turning the forests of his hometown of Geressio into a place for artistic experiments and performances in the late 1960s.