humbly, learned something of sculpture in the study of Frazee, where among other things he worked on the heads of Judge Prescott and Judge Story; here he saved a little money and gained a love for his art; and on this capital—of which his devotion to his profession was the larger part—he came abroad to study here the great remains of ancient sculpture. He has studied diligently, and formed a pure, classical, and decided taste, loving and feeling the antique. Thorwaldsen, I have occasion to know, has shown him much kind consideration, which, of itself, is no mean praise; among the thousand young artists of Rome, and from the greatest sculptor of modern times, this is the ‘laudari a viro laudato.’ The three principal English sculptors here, whose names are well-known in their own country though they may not have reached you, speak of Crawford as a remarkable artist; and I will add that I think he gives promise of doing more than they have done. I have seen his bas-reliefs, the heads he has done, and some of his most important studies. They all show the right direction. They are simple, chaste, firm, and expressive, and with much of that air (heaven-descended, I would almost call it) which the ancients had, which was first reproduced in modern times by Canova, and has since been carried so far by Thorwaldsen. Crawford is now modelling an ‘Orpheus descending into Hell.’ The figure is as large as life. He has just charmed with his lyre the three-headed dog, and with an elastic step is starting on the facile descent: Cerberus is nodding at his feet. The idea is capital for sculpture. and thus far our countryman has managed it worthily. It is, without exception, the finest study I have seen in Rome, and if completed in corresponding style,—and I do not doubt that he will do this,—will be one of the most remarkable productions that has come from an artist of his years in modern times. Crawford is poor, and is obliged to live sparingly in order to continue his studies. If his soul were not in them, I think he would have abandoned them long ago. Strange to say, his best orders have come from foreigners,—English and Russians. Let him once have a good order from some gentleman of established character, and let the work be exhibited in America, and his way will be clear. Orders will then come upon him as fast as he can attend to them. This, you will understand, is predicated upon my confidence in his ability. It was the case with Greenough. Cooper saw him, was pleased with him, and gave him an order for his bust; this he executed finely. Cooper then ordered a group, which was the ‘Chanting Cherubs,’ and gave Greenough the privilege of exhibiting it in the principal cities. From that moment his success was complete. Before, he had been
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
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