La Grazia

Object Number: 
ca. 1845
White marble
Overall: 15 3/4 x 11 3/8 x 6 1/2 in. ( 40 x 28.9 x 16.5 cm )
inscriptions: Not signed.
Bust of a woman with bun and two ribbons.
Gallery Label: 
Henry Kirke Brown modeled this marble while in Rome during the early years of his career. It is both an ideal conception in the neoclassical style of the period, and a portrait of a specific person, Maria Grazia, a well-known Italian artist's model with a scandalous and romantic past. Scholars have noted that the deep-set eyes close to the brow, the straight nose, the full lips and chin, and the compacted hair suggest the fifth century B.C. Greek ideal of beauty. The marble was distributed as a prize by the American Art-Union in 1849. The Art-Union offered its members a print of a work by an American artist and a chance to enter a drawing for American paintings and sculpture like this one. It was awarded to Peter M. Gillespy, whose descendants gave it to the Historical Society. In 1850, Brown cast a bronze of this bust which is now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Credit Line: 
Gift of the family of the late Mr. Peter Myers Gillespy
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group