smaller calder

Google’s logo today features Alexander Calder, the famed creator of mobile art.

It sways and casts a gentle shadow, just like a real Calder. But unlike the hanging mobiles in museums, this Calder can be  touched, turned and manipulated.

Today’s Google Doodle—the search engine’s name for its topically tweaked logo—features an ode to American artist Alexander Calder, who would have turned 113 today. (If you missed this or other topical logos, Google keeps an archive.)

Calder is credited with inventing the mobile – an artform that lives in museums as well as above cribs of babies world over.

Judging by the reaction on Twitter alone, the Internet loved it.

“ has made me very, very happy today,” tweeted Calder fan and San Francisco personality Susan MacTavish Best.

When asked why, she replied with this tweet: “because even as a kid I was totally obsessed with Calder.” In the tweet, she showed a picture of  herself as a child leaning on the Calder sculpture in France.

Other tweeters spread the  news, admiring the flexibility of the sculpture—and the ability to spin it with the click of a mouse.

“Google Search Alexander Calder Mobile still up—I made it spin,” tweeted @ldinstl_chimera. “Want one.”

“Google’s doodle today honors Alexander Calder —I’ve heard of mobile platforms but this is ridiculous,” tweeted @bengreenman.

The idea for the doodle came from Google software engineer Jered Wierzbicki, he wrote in Google’s blog.

“Last year I wandered into a white room at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago full of Alexander Calder’s delicate ‘objects,’ all beautifully balanced and proportioned, moving gently in the air currents like a whimsical metal forest. Calder took ordinary materials at hand—wire, scraps of sheet metal—and made them into brilliant forms, letting space and motion do the rest. As an engineer, I work with abstractions, too, so this really struck me.

“But you kind of want to play with the things. They do not let you do that at museums.”

So, Wierzbicki wrote, “I coded up a very basic demo of a mobile and showed it to a friend, who showed it to one of our doodlers.”

Googler artists and engineers collaborated to create the movable sculpture and ended up with something “way cooler than anything I could have built on my own.”

By the way, if the sculpture doesn’t move for you, there’s a chance that your browser is too old. The logo is built with HTML5, the most recent version of hypertext markup language, the basic language of Web pages.

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