DescriptionHIRAM POWERS (American, 1805-1873)
Proserpine, modeled 1844
24 inches (61.0 cm) high
Inscription on front of base: Hiram Powers
R. P. Wunder, Hiram Powers Vermont Sculptor, 1805 -1873, Newark, Delaware, 1990, II:187-204.
Proserpine was Powers's most popular sculpture. He carved 147 busts of the goddess of flowers in five different versions. The first version was completed in 1843 and shows the figure emerging from an elaborate wicker basket filled with a corsage of spring flowers. The second, the present example, was modeled a year later and features the goddess emerging from a basket filled with acanthus leaves. In the other versions Powers substituted a simple fringe of beads around the base, omitted the molding altogether, and depicted only the goddess's head and neck. Proserpine was originally intended to be a companion piece for Powers's bust Ginevra, which was executed in 1838, shortly after the sculptor's arrival in Florence.
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