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William Henry Rinehart
Sleeping Children
modeled 1859
marble
15 3/8 x 36 3/4 x 18 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Benjamin H. Warder



William Rinehart reportedly modeled this sculpture after a pair of children who were taking a midday nap at his studio in Rome. While conceived as a grave marker for the children of a Baltimore family, it became one of Rinehart's most popular works. Nineteenth-century audiences, who associated sleep with death, were fascinated with childhood innocence.