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The Puritan (work of art)

Artwork Info

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

Credit

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

Culture
American

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

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