Statue - statuary


A carved or modeled figure, especially of a person or animal. The tradition goes back to earliest recorded cultures, but among 19th and early 20th-century American sculptors, creating statuary, usually in neo-classical and realist styles, was ???bread and butter???. It was a time when heroes were celebrated with public monuments, and sculptors received commissions for commemorative works from institutions, city governments and individuals. Many of the sculptures had allegorical and religious themes to suggest that the subject transcended commonality and was associated with that which was lofty, grand and noble. Nude figures were acceptable in that Victorian period as long as certain rules were followed. The context was to be an uplifting theme to avoid any suggestion of carnality or sensual desire. Often white marble was used for these nude figures to suggest virginity and purity. American sculptors of this era known for their public statues included Thomas Ball, Augustus St. Gaudens, William Couper, Daniel Chester French, Thomas Crawford, Gertrude Whitney, Richard Greenough, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Lorado Taft, Alexander Milne Calder, Myra Musselman-Carr and Launt Thompson. Sources: Greta Elena Couper, "An American Sculptor on the Grand Tour"; Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"; AskART database