"The Greek Slave," by Hiram Powers

Object Details

Title:

"The Greek Slave," by Hiram Powers

Artist/Maker(s):

Attributed to Southworth & Hawes (American, active 1844 - 1862)

Culture:

American

Date:

1848

Medium:

Daguerreotype

Dimensions:

8.3 x 6.5 cm (3 1/4 x 2 9/16 in.)

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Hiram Powers's sculpture of a completely nude and very shapely woman was the subject of great controversy when it was created in 1848. He attempted to circumvent criticism of her nudity by casting her as a Christian martyr captured by heathen Turks and sold as a slave.

Isolating the sculpture with exquisite lighting and perfect viewpoint, Southworth and Hawes harnessed the erotic marbled splendor of the sculpture, transforming stone to supple flesh with careful modulation and selective rendering.

Exhibitions
The Art of the Daguerreotype (April 14 to July 12, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 14 to July 12, 1998
Bibliography

Lowry, Bates, and Isabael Barrett Lowry. The Silver Canvas : Daguerreotype Masterpieces from the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1998) p. 129, pl. 51.