Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Augustus Saint-Gaudens

I lived in the Washington, D.C., area for 23 years and regret that I never made it to Rock Creek Cemetery to see this remarkable piece of funerary art by Irish-born American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. "Grief" (1st image), as it is commonly known*, was commissioned by American author and historian Henry Adams (1848-1919) for the grave of his wife and installed in 1891, 6 years after her death. His art was often designed for specific sites, and projects typically took upwards of 10 years to complete. Sculpture by Saint-Gaudens (shown in a photo in the 3rd image and in a painting by Kenyon Cox, 2nd image) stands in Boston Common and New York's Central Park, but he was known not just for his public and private monuments. Interested in numismatics, he redesigned coins for the U.S. Mint at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt - including one that is still considered the most beautiful American coin ever issued.

Famous for his works that commemorate others - Abraham Lincoln and several Civil War generals among them - Saint-Gaudens has been remembered on a postage stamp, at a National Historic Site, in a special exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. and with a centenary symposium at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

*The title of the sculpture is actually "The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding."

1 comment:

  1. With halloween coming up I have an idea for a future post. For years Sheila and I have been telling our kids about La Llorna http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Llorona a part of Las Cruces NM folk lore when she was growing up. I'm curious is the is more to the story that I can share with the kids and friends.


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