Moses (after Michelangelo)

  • Edmonia Lewis, Michelangelo, Moses (after Michelangelo), 1875, marble, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred T. Morris, Jr., 1984.149.1

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Edmonia Lewis developed her skills in Rome by copying classical sculptures. These copies would often be sold to American tourists, providing a much-needed source of income. The original sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo, completed around 1515, stands in the tomb of Pope Julius II in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. To a black female sculptor, the opportunity to emulate such an exalted artist’s work must have meant a great deal. The figure of Moses himself may also have been an inspiration.

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“I thought I knew everything when I came to Rome, but I soon found I had everything to learn.” Edmonia Lewis, quoted in Romare Bearden, A History of African-American Artists, 1993

Title
Moses (after Michelangelo)
Artists
Date
1875
On View
Dimensions
26 3/4 x 11 1/2 x 13 5/8 in. (68.0 x 29.2 x 34.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred T. Morris, Jr.

Mediums
Classifications
Highlights
Keywords
  • Religion – Old Testament – Moses
Object Number
1984.149.1
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI