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The Puritan (work of art)

Artwork Info

Artist Details
American (born Ireland)
1848-1907
Medium
Sculpture
Created
originally modeled 1886, reworked in reduction and cast after 1899
Dimensions
31 x 19 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.
(78.7 x 49.5 x 32.4 cm)

About

The most talented and accomplished American sculptor of the nineteenth century, Augustus Saint-Gaudens created over the course of his career a pantheon of public statuary commemorating presidents, military commanders, clerics, tycoons, and social lions. Among his most famous works is the stern, striding figure of Deacon Samuel Chapin (1595-1675). Standing over eight feet tall, the statue was commissioned to honor one of the founders of Springfield, Massachusetts. However, with no surviving likeness of Chapin to guide him, Saint-Gaudens opted for what he called “an embodiment of the Puritan.”

The sculpture proved so popular that the artist produced a reduced version, of which this is one of many casts. Draped in a great billowing cloak, the figure projects an austere and commanding presence. He advances toward the viewer, cradling a weighty Bible in his arm, his down-turned eyes shadowed by the wide-brimmed hat — the incarnation of righteous and unshakable purpose.

tags: identity, power, place, US History

Images

  • Saint Gaudens The Puritan Sculpture 1899

    The Puritan by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Related Concepts

Credit

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fabius B. Pendleton in memory of Katherine Pendleton Arrington