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[402]

The position of the work in the mausoleum throws the head to the north, with the face turned slightly toward the chapel, thus affording a view of it from a number of different points. It is impossible to imagine greater architectural and sculptural harmony.

We add the conclusion of a long and very appreciative article written by the Art critic of the Boston Post:

The writer was favored with a sight of it [the plaster cast] in Mr. Valentine's studio at Richmond, Va., several months ago, and the impression then gained was very favorable to its excellent qualities as a work of art. The figure is full length, reclining upon the back on a couch. The likeness is said by those who knew General Lee intimately to be exceptionably good, and it certainly is faithful to the best portraits of him now extant. The pose of the figure is firm, and yet is so happily devoid of hardness that it is quite easy and natural, and suggests the idea of calm slumber more clearly than such work is wont to do. The drapery thrown over the figure and across the couch is admirably handled with the utmost grace and simplicity in its folds. This quality of simplicity and directness is the strong feature in the work as a whole.

There is a great deal of the pure Greek in Mr. Valentine's art sense, and we find it strongly manifested in this work. There are no meretricious ornaments in the way of decorations, nothing of the “catchy” character, but plain, simple, straightforward and intelligent methods. This work is thoroughly simple and severe, and quite classic in character. In the hands of an artist of lesser power these qualities so pronounced might easily have degenerated into hardness and coldness, but it is not so here, however. They add a dignity and an impressiveness to the subject that eminently befit and elevate it to a higher position among the best of our native works of sculpture. It is a triumph in art that the sculptor may well be proud of, and which must be thoroughly satisfactory to every admirer of General Lee.

We will only add to the criticisms which we have quoted above that the writer of this saw Valentine's original bust of Lee while he was at work on it and after its completion,—saw his original design of the Recumbent Figure, his study, his completed figure in plaster, and the marble at every stage from the rude block until in March, 1875, the artist gave it the finishing touches of his genius, and in Lexington, after the unveiling, we sat by and studied it by the hour,

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Edward Virginius Valentine (3)
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March, 1875 AD (1)
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