modeled 1898, cast after 1898
Overall: 101 x 45.2 cm (39 3/4 x 17 13/16 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Henry A. Everett for the Dorothy Burnham Everett Memorial Collection 1923.726
A smaller version of the eight-by-four-foot original now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, this bronze relief represents the culmination of a theme that Augustus Saint-Gaudens first used for the funerary angel figures on the 1880 family tomb of former New York governor Edwin D. Morgan. The finely pleated tunic is featured in all renderings of this figure as Saint-Gaudens tinkered with the decorative possibilities of the drapery. Here, he further contributed to the work's naturalism and symbolism by adorning her head and waist with a garland of passionflowers native to America. The different symbols of Christ's Passion are commonly recognized in the structure of this flower. Amor Caritas won the grand prize in the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, establishing Saint-Gaudens as one of the distinguished American sculptors of the day. The calm strength and independence evident in the figure's face seem to represent Saint-Gaudens's feminine ideal. Critics noted that the relief's "austere grace" marked it as a quintessential Saint-Gaudens figure and an excellent example of the "American Renaissance."
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