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The Greek Slave

Hiram S. Powers

American Art

Hiram Powers conceived the first version of this sculpture (completed 1841–47) out of sympathy for the Greek women enslaved during their war of independence with the Turks (1821–30). However, his subsequent versions (including this last of six) took on new meaning in the climate of the Civil War era. Viewers who saw the sculpture on public exhibition in the United States and Great Britain associated the figure with the violation of enslaved mulatto and black women in America.
DATES 1866
DIMENSIONS Statue: 65 1/2 x 19 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (166.4 x 48.9 x 47.6 cm) Height of pedestal: 30 1/4 in. (76.8 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Incised along edge of base behind post: "H POWERS / [in script] Sculp"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Charles F. Bound
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Life-size figure of idealized nude female standing in contrapposto pose on round base; head turned to left and slightly downward; hands bound together with chains with proper left hand over genitalia and proper right hand leaning on post draped with patterned cloth. Condition: Good.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Hiram S. Powers (American, 1805–1873). The Greek Slave, 1866. Marble, Statue: 65 1/2 x 19 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (166.4 x 48.9 x 47.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles F. Bound, 55.14. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.14_front_PS20.jpg)
IMAGE front, 55.14_front_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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