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The Lost Pleiad

Greek mythology often provided the content for American nineteenth-century sculpture: the connection to the respected academic tradition of the ancient Greeks rendered the depiction of the nude more acceptable to a conservative audience. Here, a personification of one of the stars in the constellation called the Pleiades searches the heavens. (She forfeited her position among her six sister stars because she dared to marry a mortal.) Her windswept hair and drapery, and her pose, convey a distinct sense of forward motion, a difficult effect to achieve in marble. Randolph Rogers, like most American Neoclassical sculptors, worked in Italy where he had immediate access to classical art and readily available materials, and where there were trained carvers he could hire to translate his sculpted clay or plaster models into the finished marble form under his direction.

Catalogue Description:
Statue of partially nude female personification of one of the Pleiad stars. Figure leans forward in motion and turns head to proper left with hand held over eyes in seeking gesture, holds proper right arm stretched out behind her; her legs are raised behind her as if she is floating through the air and the figure is supported atop round base of cloud-like forms; she wears loose drapery that falls from proper right shoulder, wraps around her body below her breasts, and comes to a pile below her legs; she has long, wavy hair pulled into a ponytail with several loose strands; inscribed along front edge of round base: "THE LOST PLEIAD." Condition: Good, missing the ends of four fingers of proper right hand; few chunks of ends of hair in ponytail missing; some black stains on back of clouds.

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