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The Falling Gladiator

1861 William Rimmer Born: Liverpool, England 1816 Died: South Milford, Massachusetts 1879 plaster 64 x 43 1/8 x 40 1/4 in. (162.5 x 109.5 x 104.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Caroline Hunt Rimmer 1915.5.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


Gallery Label

William Rimmer based this sculpture of a mortally wounded man on works from ancient Greece and Rome. But its subject echoed the suffering of the United States on the eve of war. When the artist began work in January of 1861, six states had seceded from the Union, and the attack on Fort Sumter was just three months away. Rimmer worked as a doctor, and his critics at first accused him of casting the sculpture on a real human body. As the conflict wore on, however, they praised his representation of torment and suffering, relating it to the grim fate of Americans at war with one another.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Figure male - nude

History - ancient - Rome

Occupation - sport - athlete

State of being - death

sculpture

plaster

About William Rimmer

Born: Liverpool, England 1816 Died: South Milford, Massachusetts 1879

More works in the collection by
William Rimmer