Proserpine

Copied Hiram Powers, Proserpine, 1839-1873, marble, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. George Cabot Lodge, 1926.11.1
Free to use

Artwork Details

Title
Proserpine
Artist
Date
1839-1873
Dimensions
252011 in. (63.550.827.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. George Cabot Lodge
Mediums
Mediums Description
marble
Classifications
Keywords
  • Mythology — classical — Proserpine
Object Number
1926.11.1

Artwork Description

Proserpine (or Persephone) is a character from Greek mythology who was forced to spend part of every year in the underworld. Her absence from the earth was believed to cause winter, while her return brought spring. Hiram Powers modeled the original bust of Proserpine to include an elaborate woven basket filled with flowers. This proved too time-consuming and expensive to carve, however, and it was changed to a simple arrangement of acanthus leaves. Proserpine was replicated more than any other work produced by an American sculptor during the nineteenth century, and Powers’s studio carved more than three hundred copies.