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

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.”

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, 198991

President John Quincy Adams
modeled 1837
22 3414 3410 38 in. (57.837.426.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson

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

More from artist

More Artworks from the Collection