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Adams Memorial Essay

  • Submitted by: carolinachatila
  • on March 18, 2012
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 324 words

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Below is an essay on "Adams Memorial" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Adams Memorial, a sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, is a grave marker for “Clover” Adams, the wife of writer Henry Adams. After Clover killed herself, Adams commissioned Saint-Gaudens to make a sculpture that represented the Buddhist idea of nirvana, which is a state of being beyond joy and sorrow. The bronze sculpture is five feet and ten inches tall and is on top of a granite base. What makes this sculpture especially interesting is that it depicts a person with both male and female qualities. For the purpose of this sculpture, Saint-Gaudens studied symbolic depictions of Buddhism and Christianity, which greatly influenced the style of this grave marker. Adams Memorial is a blend of Eastern and Western visual references. Saint-Gaudens admits that he was greatly influenced by Michelangelo, especially his work on the Sistine Chapel. The body of the sculpture was modeled after a male, but the face was formed into a female. One arm is bent with the fingers curled and resting under the cheek, while the other arm crosses over the body and ends in a fist. Only the face and arms show because the sculpture has a shawl draped over it, hiding the rest of the body. The figure wears a hood that conceals part of the face, creating a dark shadow around the outline of the head and adds to the sense of mystery. Her hand rests gently under her chin and her eyes are closed. She wears a pensive yet tortured expression on her face. Saint-Gaudens uses the huge cloak to engulf the sculpture and create darkness around the figure that, along with the sculpture’s body language, establishes an era of isolation, grief, and haunting. Saint-Gauden’s style produced a sculpture that allowed for artists to reproduce the image for decades, because of its ambiguity. Copies of the figure were created and sold, given as gifts, or used to memorialize different people

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