President John Quincy Adams

  • Hiram Powers, President John Quincy Adams, modeled 1837, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.18

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The poem you see above was written by John Quincy Adams to express his thanks to Hiram Powers. The two men became friends during the sculptor’s stay in Washington, and Powers created this piece as a token of respect for the former president. The portrait was modeled in 1837, shortly before Powers left Washington for Florence, and it was one of the first sculptures carved from marble in his Italian studio. As he sat for the artist, Adams told many stories and anecdotes from his lively career. Powers later claimed that “I do not know that I have ever met with a more entertaining man.”

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“Sculptor, thy hand has moulded into form The haggard features of a toil-worn face; And whosoever views thy work shall trace An age of sorrow, and a Life of Storm. And, canst thou mould the Heart? For that—is warm; Glowing with tenderness for all its race; Instinct with all the Sympathies that grace The pure and artless bosom, where they swarm.” From “To Hiram Powers” by John Quincy Adams, 1837, quoted in Richard P. Wunder, Hiram Powers, 1989-91

Title
President John Quincy Adams
Artist
Date
modeled 1837
Location
Dimensions
22 3/4 x 14 3/4 x 10 3/8 in. (57.8 x 37.4 x 26.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
plaster
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait male – Adams, John Quincy – nude
  • Study – sculpture model
  • Occupation – political – president
  • Portrait male – Adams, John Quincy – bust
Object Number
1968.155.18
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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