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Diana of the Tower

Augustus Saint-Gaudens

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, Making Art: Centennial Era, 5th Floor

Diana of the Tower is a variation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens's famous weathervane of the Roman goddess of the hunt that stood atop the Madison Square Garden Tower in New York City from 1894 until the Garden was demolished in 1925. Despite the weathervane's placement high above the city, the figure's nudity disturbed some viewers. Reporters fueled debates about the sculpture's propriety. "Occasionally a stray child may still be seen [in the area of Madison Square Park]," one wrote, "but more generally, what children come there are rushed through at breakneak speed in the two of a nurse of some older person. In their place the Square is now thronged with clubmen, armed with filed glasses." Nevertheless, Diana's popularity was great enough to inspire the sculptor to create several editions of reduced versions such as this one, the sales and exhibitions of which established Diana as on of the best-known American sculptures of the period.

MEDIUM Gilded Bronze
  • Place Made: United States
  • DATES 1895
    DIMENSIONS 40 7/8 x 20 7/8 x 15 3/4 in. (103.8 x 53 x 40 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Incised on back edge of base: "© AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS 1895 [date in circle]"
    COLLECTIONS American Art
    CREDIT LINE Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848-1907). Diana of the Tower, 1895. Gilded Bronze, 40 7/8 x 20 7/8 x 15 3/4 in. (103.8 x 53 x 40 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 23.255. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 23.255_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Figure of idealized nude female in act of shooting an arrow; stands on tiptoe of proper left foot with right leg outstretched behind her and head looking left; holds bow in proper left hand and pulls string (made of twisted wire) with right hand, arrow has been lost; base is hemisphere atop square plinth. Condition: Good; allover losses to gilding.
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