Diana of the Tower (Primary Title)
Diana of the Tower (Primary Title)

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, American, born Ireland, 1848 - 1907 (Artist)

modeled 1892, cast 1899
American
bronze
United States
Overall (including triangular pedestal and base): 39 × 13 1/4 × 13 1/4 in. (99.06 × 33.66 × 33.66 cm)
76.40.1

Saint-Gaudens’s figure of Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt, is a reduced version of his famous thirteen-foot tall gilded weathervane – now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art – that once topped New York’s Madison Square Garden. Like its colossal prototype, this lithe nude stands tiptoe on one foot, striking perfect balance as she draws back her bow in careful aim.

Extraordinary talent and rigorous French training at the École des Beaux-Arts positioned Saint-Gaudens as the leading sculptor in Gilded Age America. His elite circle of friends, patrons, and artists – including Tile Club colleagues Edwin Austin Abbey and Elihu Vedder, whose work is also featured in this gallery – were aesthetically and philosophically attuned to the latest cosmopolitan artistic approaches. Myriad commissions, projects, and honors occupied Saint-Gaudens throughout a prolific thirty-year career, including his appointment as chief sculpture advisor for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. His first and largest version of Diana (now destroyed) flew high atop the fair’s Administration Building.

Cast on top of base back: "AUGUSTUS / SAINT GAUDENS / MDCCCXCIX;" on pedestral proper right front: "DIANA OF THE TOWER"
On base back edge: " (c) A. SAINT GAUDENS / MDCCCXCV"
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Five Years of Collecting, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, March 25 – May 4, 1980
O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (No. 93, p. 267-272).
Didier, Inc., New Orleans;
Childs Gallery, Boston

[1] Accessioned December 13, 1976. See VMFA Curatorial file.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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