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Study for Mural for Appellate Court Building, New York; "Statute Law", Helmet for Figure of "Force"

ca. 1899 Kenyon Cox Born: Warren, Ohio 1856 Died: New York, New York 1919 oil on canvas 17 x 13 7/8 in. (43.2 x 35.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Ambrose Lansing 1983.114.4 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 8A


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Study for Mural for Appellate Court Building, New York; "Statute Law", Helmet for Figure of "Force"

Luce Center Label

At the turn of the twentieth century, American artists decorated important public buildings with colorful and theatrical murals, images that were meant to enhance architectural spaces and impart lessons of good taste and moral values. In 1898 the National Society of Mural Painters nominated Kenyon Cox and nine other members to create murals for the new state appellate court building in New York City. The space given to Cox was the most challenging: Only four feet high and thirty-five feet long, it had two smaller, angled areas at each end. He chose to paint allegorical figures symbolizing the principles of law. This study for the figure of Force shows a woman wearing a helmet and looking out with a formidable expression; it is the kind of detailed sketch Cox made of each figure before beginning the mural. (Morgan, Kenyon Cox, 1856-1919: A Life in American Art, 1994)

Keywords

Allegory - quality - fortitude

Architecture Interior - civic - Appellate Court Building

Cityscape - New York New York

Dress - accessory - helmet

Dress - historic - classical dress

Figure female - bust

Study

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Kenyon Cox

Born: Warren, Ohio 1856 Died: New York, New York 1919

More works in the collection by
Kenyon Cox