The Greek Slave
Hiram S. Powers
On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Nations Divided, 1860–1910, 5th Floor
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.
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)
Incised along edge of base behind post: "H POWERS / [in script] Sculp"
Gift of Charles F. Bound
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Hiram S. Powers (American, 1805-1873). The Greek Slave, 1869. 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
installation, 55.14_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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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.
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