This highly finished preparatory study for a painting depicts a personification of the human soul in conflict as a female angel with bound hands and feet. Although Elihu Vedder rendered the figure’s idealized body as fettered and immobile, he suggested an active spiritual life through her attitude of contemplation, with head tilted back, eyes closed, and brow slightly furrowed.
Bound Angel exemplifies Vedder’s technical prowess as a draftsman, as well as his esoteric Symbolist subject matter. Symbolism emerged in turn-of-the-century literary and artistic circles as a movement that favored the exploration of emotional, spiritual, and imaginative themes over the representation of the real world (see also Kahlil Gibran’s drawing displayed nearby).
- Artist: Elihu Vedder, American, 1836-1923
- Medium: White chalk and black Conté crayon on bluish-green, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper
- Dates: 1891
- Dimensions: Sheet: 11 1/2 x 8 7/8 in. (29.2 x 22.5 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Conjoined monogram and date lower right: "18 V 91"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 21.482
- Credit Line: Bequest of William H. Herriman
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Elihu Vedder (American, 1836-1923). Bound Angel, 1891. White chalk and black Conté crayon on bluish-green, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper, Sheet: 11 1/2 x 8 7/8 in. (29.2 x 22.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of William H. Herriman, 21.482
- Record Completeness: Best (91%)