previous next

‘ [397] sensation. * * * The hero is lying in his uniform, as if in sleep, upon his narrow soldier's bed. One hand is on his bosom, and touches, unconsciously and gently, ‘the drapery of his couch.’ The other is lying by his side, where it has fallen, and rests upon his sword. The portraiture is perfect, no less as to form than feature. The whole expression is that of tranquil and absolute repose—the repose of physical power, unshaken though dormant—of manly grace most graceful when at rest—of noble faculties alive and sovereign though still.’

An English gentleman, a traveler who saw it while it was yet in the studio, writes of it: ‘We confess to feelings of profound astonishment as we first gazed at Valentine's splendid sculpture. We felt proud that Virginia had such a son. We had seen the works of great modern masters in Europe, but never had we seen one of greater power, conception, and execution than this Lee monument.’ A writer in a German paper says: ‘The General lies upon a sarcophagus, the upper part of the body slightly raised, in a gentle slumber. * * * Mr. Valentine has especially succeeded in preserving the warm and living impression of the living body; it is not the countenance of death. It is Lee as he was—as the people of the South knew him; the work has nothing of the cold, disconsolate look of death about it; the artist has animated it with the warm breath of peace.’ A critic in the Richmond Enquirer, commenting upon a saying of Thorwaldsen's, that he did not fear his own conception, says the truth, and purity, and strength of Mr. Valentine's modelling is such that he verifies the remark of the great Dane——‘he did not “fear his own conception.” His ambition was exalted, and he searched for his ideal in a field of art where the dividing line between success and failure is so exact as to render the ground treacherous and the undertaking dangerous. Between the extremes of the mediaeval and modern sarcophagi there is a wide difference; but the art movement involved in the present undertaking was not strictly to be found in the intermediate ground. The contact was between an antique principle reflected through the solid grandeur of the German intellect in sculpture, and an immense deal of the artist's own originality. Had he failed to find it, his failure would have been complete. That he has not failed, but has achieved a triumph, we believe will be the opinion of the best art judgment in the country.’

As a work of pure ideal art and that into which he has put most of his own conception, Mr. Valentine himself sets the highest value on his Andromache and Astyanax, and if he is enabled to carry out

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Edward Virginius Valentine (4)
S. D. Lee (2)
Thorwaldsen (1)
Astyanax (1)
Andromache (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: