Harriet Hosmer although not widely
recognized is considered one
the most distinguished American
sculptors of the 19th Century.
Born in Massachusetts in 1830 she
was raised by her father after the
age of 12 when her mother and
3 siblings passed away.
Harriet was rather tomboyish in nature
and was encouraged by her father in areas
of physical activity. She became expert
in things like rowing, skating and riding.
He also supported her artistic exploration.
Early on she demonstrated skill in modeling
and studied anatomy with her father and later
gained private instruction at the all
male Missouri Medical College. This was
a way for her to hone her skill in
the absence of being allowed to study
from a live model due to being a woman.
At 22 she moved to Rome to escape the
limitations she felt existed for her as a
sculptor in America. She grew under the
instruction of John Gibson and was
exposed to working from a live model.
She developed a neo-classical style
which evolved during the 18th Century
in Rome and spread throughout Europe.
"Looking Around Sydney"
I love her use of color too. It has
an element of boldness and perhaps
seduction as I think about these
What I love about the 3 sculptures
shown here is the feeling of
gentleness that comes through the
form. I also think it's interesting
that the heads on these women
are all cast downward. I'm not sure
of the significance of that. Perhaps
this is left up to the viewer to
On a more technical note, Hosmer
came up with a way to convert limestone