"b. Clark County, Ky., 1810. After a slight common-school education, was apprenticed to a stone-cutter in Lexington, Ky., where he began to model busts in clay. In 1849 he went to Florence, where, for the ladies' clay association, he executed a statue of Henry clay, which is now in Richmond, Va. Afterward he modeled the colossal bronze statue of Clay now in New Orleans, and also the beautiful marble statue of Clay in the Louisville courthouse. Among his ideal works are 'Charity,' 'Woman Triumphant,' 'Penserosa,' etc. Hart had an intensely poetic nature, which showed itself not only in his art works, but sometimes in literary form. Lived in Florence thirty years. D. 1877. " His ideal productions have been greatly admired, and have placed his name high in the niche of fame. . . . he wrote some exquisitely beautiful poetry, and was a man of rare refinement and culture. . . . he died march 2, 1877, at Florence, Italy. - Kentucky Biographical Encyclopedia. " Woman Triumphant. (sometimes incorrectly referred to as 'The Triumph of Chastity.' Purchased, 1884, by the women of the city of Lexington and county of Fayette, Kentucky, as a memorial of Hart and a testimony of their appreciation to his aims and work. " The following interesting letter was written at Florence, by Mr. R.J. Menefee, some years ago, when Hart was sill living and at work upon his masterpiece. It was published then in a Louisville paper, and it explains so well the character of joel Hart and the aims of his work that it has been deemed advisable to reprint it here. " 'Like many others who have achieved greatness, Mr. Hart has ever been indifferent to the allurements of wealth and pleasure. . . . There is an interesting fact in connection with the mere material of Hart's model. After Hiram Powers had finished the 'Greek Slave,' he sold the clay in which she had been modeled to Mr. Hart. This clay had been brought years before from Baltimore, Md., and it is a striking coincidence that from maryland the clay should have been dug in which the Cincinnat- ian, Powers, accomplished the work that made him famous, and in after years that the same earth should, under the superior hand of a Kentuckian, be fashioned into a marvel of beauty so far beyond its first form - the 'Greek Slave' - as the latter surpassed all previous efforts of Mr. Powers. 'Woman Triumphant' surpasses, in the judgment of various critics, the works of both ancient and modern times. " Many have attempted to describe this wonderful work, and have failed. I, therefore, will not attempt it, as language seems unequal to the task. However, I would say something as to the spirit of the composition. It is a group of two figures only; a perfect woman, possessed of the passions belonging to a superior animal nature; . . . love, in the shape of a bewitching cupid, has assailed the fair one, . . . his quiver is exhausted; the last shaft has failed of the mark, and the splendid woman has caught the barbed arrow, and with her left hand has raised it high above her head, out of reach of the villainous little tempter, . . . virtue is assailed, reason is brought to bear, all attacks are harmless. It is 'woman's triumph.' . . . Mr. Hart has in one respect followed the antique, but in his general treatment has departed from established academic rules. . . . Mr. Hart has improved on all these. . . . believing, as he does, that his own countrywomen are unsurpassed for loveliness and power, he has endeavored, and successfully, to produce the
Illustrated Catalogue of Works of Art in the Art Building of the Southern Exposition at Louisville, Ky. August 16 - October 25, 1884. Prepared by Charles M. Kurtz, Director of the Art Department. Editor of National Academy Notes and the Art Union Magazine. Published for the Art Committee by John P. Morton and Company.