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Paradise Lost, (sculpture)

Artist:
Powers, Hiram
Type:
Sculptures
Exhibition Catalogs
Date:
1876
Notes:
Appears in exhibition catalog as entry no. 138 (Sale info: TO BE AUCTIONED).
"Letter from Hiram Powers, Esq., to N.D. Morgan, dated Dec. 7, 1871. My Dear Sir: . . . You desire that I shall give you some- thing of the history of my work, which is now on its way to you, in order that you may see it, as it were, through the medium of the author's eyes. Well, then, I had already produced a statue of 'Eve Tempted,' which was, indeed, my first ideal figure - and the same now in the possession of Mr. A.T. Stewart, of New York; but I was not satisfied with my first attempt, as, indeed, the temptation of Eve did not afford an opportunity for the expression of bewilderment, distress, and remorse, which must have appeared on the face and in the attitude of Eve, when she replied, 'The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.' It is less difficult in painting or sculpture, to give a single than a com- pound expression - simple grief or joy is much easier to render than grief with remorse, or joy with a sigh lingering within the expression of the features. " We see these subtilties in nature - but to render them in art, requires something more than artistic science. The artist must not only see his way (science), but he must also feel his way. In short, he must work from the heart as well as from the brain, and his work then reflects back upon him, as it were, the offspring of his will and understanding. The will has con- ceived, the understanding has produced; and hence, allow me to say, that without understanding - that is, without learning, knowledge, science, practice, experience, study - no one, however great may be his genius, can produce a genuine work of art. As well might we expect a poem from one who can neither read nor write. " I could never satisfy myself with an ideal work in a hurry. The human form is infinite. It is the 'image of God;' and I have found, that do my best, there was always a better in nature. Once knowing this, I have hesitated, and sought to find it, and this is the way to fame. One may fail with all his care and labor, but it is the only way. Not they who have produced the most, but they who have done the best, stand foremost in the end. I never felt that I had the power to charge an hundred statues - I exhaust myself on a few. This accounts for the fact that I found it necessary to give nearly one year's time in all, to the model alone on your statue of paradise lost. I continually found something to be improved, and am far from presuming it to be perfect. I aimed at nobleness of form, and womanly dignity of expression. She is forlorn, but does not quite despair, for she looks up imploringly. She accuses the serpent with one hand, and herself most with the other. The serpent retires, for Eve repents - she now resists evil. " She is not a goddess, but a woman, a primitive woman, the mother of mankind. She has never been in society, nor is she educated. Such has been my design, but imperfectly carried out. I trust you will make due allowance. . . . I am, dear sir, faithfully our ob't serv't, Hiram Powers. Florence, December 7, 1871." [P. 23-24; ellipses in commentary appeared.]
Catalogue of the Collection of Paintings by Celebrated Old and Modern Masters, and Statuary, belonging to N.D. Morgan, Esq., Brooklyn. The Whole on Exhibition, Friday, January 21st, at the Art Rooms, 817 Broadway. To be sold by auction Wednesday and Thursday Evenings, January 26th and 27th, Commencing at Eight o'clock. The Messrs. Leavitt, Auctioneers.
Topic:
Literature--Milton--Paradise Lost
Religion--Old Testament--Eve
Figure female--Nude
State of Being--Evil--Sin
Animal--Reptile--Snake
State of Being--Emotion--Sorrow
Control number:
AECI 03050139
Data Source:
Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index

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