Erastus Dow Palmer (American, Pompey, New York 1817–1904 Albany, New York)
1849–50; carved 1853
14 1/2 x 10 x 6 in. (36.8 x 25.4 x 15.2 cm)
Purchase, Gift of William Nelson and Gift of Misses Alice and Evelyn Blight and Mrs. W. P. Thompson, by exchange, 1997
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
"Infant Ceres" was the first sculpture in the round that Palmer modeled after turning away from his work as a cameo cutter. It is based on one of his children, logically, his two-year-old daughter Fanny, who was born in 1848. She is presented in the guise of the infant Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture and abundance. The hair, decorated with a thin fillet, is pulled back and adorned with blossoms. Sheaves of wheat, Ceres’s identifying attribute, encircle the figure and are tied in front.
Signature: [back]: PALMER / SC. / 1853
Possibly John Boyd, Albany, N.Y.; C. C. Alger, Hudson, N.Y.; or Edwin D. Morgan, New York