"Ex Nihilo, Fragment No. 8" by Frederick Hart

From the Washington National Cathedral Collection, this original cast bronze sculpture is limited edition and is a fragment of Frederick E Hart’s Ex Nihilo tympanum, located at the Cathedral above the central door. Completed in 1982, Ex Nihilo is Hart’s depiction of the birth of man features half-formed figures of men and women emerging from the void. The large plaster sculpture is considered one of the most important religious commissions in the 20th century. Eight casts were made directly from the original Ex Nihilo tympanum and recreated into fragments. A small bronze replica of the larger work sits on the stone pedestal of this sculpture. Fragment No. 8 was installed in the Lightner Museum courtyard on September 26, 2008.


“Ex Nihilo (Out of Nothing) stands as an eloquent metaphor for humankind always “becoming” — ever in a state of rebirth and reaffirmation of all the possibilities in being human, of the process of evolving into one’s own future.”

— Frederick Hart (1943-1999)

Location: Lightner Museum

Medium type: Cast Bronze

Dimensions: 49" x 31" x 27"


  • "Ex Nihilo" tympanum by Frederick Hart, over the doorway of the Washington National Cathedral

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