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Creator Name: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1848-1907
Creator Name-CRT: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Title: The Puritan
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1883
Creation End Date: 1886
Creation Date: 1883-1886; this cast, 1899 or after
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: bronze
Dimensions: 30 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 13 in. (77.5 x 47 x 33 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 39.65.53
Credit Line: Bequest of Jacob Ruppert, 1939
In 1881 Saint-Gaudens was commissioned by Chester W. Chapin, a railroad tycoon and congressman, to sculpt a large-scale bronze likeness of an ancestor, Deacon Samuel Chapman (1595-1675), one of the three founding fathers of Springfield, Massachusetts. The sculptor wrote in his 'Reminiscences' that: 'The statue . . . was to represent Deacon Samuel Chapman, but I developed it into an embodiment . . . of the 'Puritan.'' On Thanksgiving Day 1887, 'The Puritan' was unveiled on Stearns Square in Springfield, at one end of a site designed by Stanford White. The monument was relocated to Merrick Park in 1899. In 'The Puritan,' Saint-Gaudens successfully translated an abstract idea into three-dimensional form. The figure is not an individual portrait, but a representation of Puritan dogma. Eyes focused downward, he strides with a knotty walking stick across the pine-strewn New England wilderness, symbolized by a few scattered branches on the base. About 1894, Saint-Gaudens resolved to make reductions after the full-size 'Puritan,' because of the statue's popularity and for the income he would derive. Located reductions, which number more than twenty-five, reveal minor alterations to the figure, which at once add energy and soften the facial expression. By mid-1898 bronze reductions were being cast in Paris. Examples vary in the angles of the hat and the walking stick and particularly in the coloration, which ranges from gold to brown to the green of the Metropolitan's cast.
AMICA ID: MMA_.39.65.53
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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