Study for "Science Instructing Industry"
Born: Warren, Ohio 1856
Died: New York, New York 1919
oil on canvas 16 x 20 in. (40.7 x 50.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Ambrose Lansing
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 35B
Luce Center Label
In the late nineteenth century, artists decorated America’s public buildings with murals that were meant to teach moral and civic lessons to visitors passing through the halls. Many artists chose mythological or allegorical scenes. In this study, Kenyon Cox represented industry as a muscular young man and science as a laurel-crowned, toga-clad woman. The ruddy skin of the male figure contrasts sharply with the white toga and milky skin of the goddess, a choice Cox made so that the figures, posed closely together, would read clearly from a distance in the finished mural. Cox believed that mythological figures provided more beautiful decoration than figures dressed in contemporary clothes. He once wrote that “The painter who cares greatly for the expressiveness of the body will feel little attraction to belt buckles and brass buttons” (Morgan, Keepers of Culture, 1989).
Allegory - arts and sciences - industry
Allegory - arts and sciences - science
Figure female - knee length
paint - oil
fabric - canvas
About Kenyon Cox
Born: Warren, Ohio 1856 Died: New York, New York 1919