Research: Luce Center for American Art

Rome Representative of the Arts
Accession #12.919
Artist Elihu Vedder
TitleRome Representative of the Arts
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions29 9/16 x 55 3/16 in. (75.1 x 140.1 cm)
SignedSigned lower right: "ELIHU VEDDER--ROMA--1894"
Credit LineGift of William T. Evans
LocationAmerican Identities: Centennial Era

Curatorial Remarks:

During the 1890s a new classicism in architecture led to the demand for large, decorative wall paintings that recalled the classical past. This is a finished study for a mural representing Rome that Elihu Vedder executed for the Walker Art Building on the campus of Bowdoin College, in Maine, where it joined panels symbolizing Athens, Venice, and Florence (key historical artistic centers) by three other artists. Using a traditional allegorical visual language, Vedder cast the central nude female figure as Nature—the primary inspiration of art. Flanking her are personifications of the elements of art (love, color, and form on the right and knowledge, thought, and soul on the left).