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Horatio Greenough
Samuel F. B. Morse
1831
marble
19 1/2 x 12 x 8 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Edward L. Morse



Samuel F. B. Morse, artist and inventor, was living in Italy when close friend and sculptor, Horatio Greenough, created this portrait. Shortly after, Morse wrote to a friend, “Mr. Greenough has just completed a bust of me, which all say is an excellent likeness.” The slight turn of the head, hint of a smile, and veining of the left temple indicate Greenough's penchant for naturalism. The armless, nude torso, stylized hair, and blank eyes, however, reveal the sculptor's equal ability to idealize figures.