Genius of Mirth

Thomas Crawford American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 758

During a visit to Crawford’s Rome studio in 1842, the New Yorker Henry Hicks gave him an order for a sculpture, leaving the theme to the artist’s choosing. Crawford’s selection of a lighthearted youth was likely to please his patron, as images of children were especially popular in the mid-nineteenth century. He described his subject as “a boy of seven or eight years, dancing in great glee, and tinkling a pair of cymbals, the music of which seems to amuse him exceedingly.” The sculptor and his contemporaries relished the technical challenges of carving marble; the disengaged raised left leg epitomizes the virtuosity they delighted in displaying.

Genius of Mirth, Thomas Crawford (American, New York 1813?–1857 London), Marble, American

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