Horatio Greenough - Encyclopedia

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HORATIO GREENOUGH (1805-1852), American sculptor, son of a merchant, was born at Boston, on the 6th of September 1805. At the age of sixteen he entered Harvard, but he devoted his principal attention to art, and in the autumn of 1825 he went to Rome, where he studied under Thorwaldsen. After a short visit in 1826 to Boston, where he executed busts of John Quincy Adams and other people of distinction, he returned to Italy and took up his residence at Florence. Here one of his first commissions was from James Fenimore Cooper for a group of Chanting Cherubs; and he was chosen by the American government to execute the colossal statue of Washington for the national capital. It was unveiled in 1843, and was really a fine piece of work for its day; but in modern times it has been sharply criticized as unworthy and incongruous. Shortly afterwards he received a second government commission for a colossal group, the "Rescue," intended to represent the conflict between the Anglo-Saxon and Indian races. In 1851 he returned to Washington to superintend its erection, and in the autumn of 1852 he was attacked by brain fever, of which he died in Somerville near Boston on the 18th of December. Among other works of Greenough may be mentioned a bust of Lafayette, the Medora and the Venus Victrix in the gallery of the Boston Athenaeum. Greenough was a man of wide culture, and wrote well both in prose and verse.

See H. T. Tuckerman, Memoir of Horatio Greenough (New York, 1853)

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