Thomas Crawford (American, New York 1813?–1857 London)
By 1846; carved 1848
20 1/4 x 54 1/2 x 19 1/2 in. (51.4 x 138.4 x 49.5 cm)
Bequest of Annette W. W. Hicks-Lord, 1896
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700
The Rome-based Crawford drew his inspiration for this work from the “History of the Conquest of Mexico,” published in 1843 by the American historian William H. Prescott. Although the young woman’s identity is unknown, her dramatic position, as well as the gaping wound beneath her right breast, suggests that she has fallen in battle. Crawford may have wished to demonstrate in visual form Prescott’s central thesis that the Spaniards conquered Mexico in order to convert native peoples to Christianity. The cross beside the young woman’s left hand would have consoled nineteenth-century viewers by implying that she had embraced the religion and found eternal salvation as she lay dying. The marble pedestal is original to the sculpture.
Signature: [left side of base]: T. CRAWFORD • FECIT • 1848 • ROME
Henry W. Hicks, by 1848; his daughter Annette W. W. Hicks-Lord, until d. 1896