La Petite Pensée

Thomas Ball American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Ball, who spent much of his career abroad in Florence, followed the lead of other expatriate American sculptors in modeling sentimental depictions of children. The posture of this youthful thinker, with her right shoulder thrust forward, is slightly coquettish, in contrast to her demure downward glance. Her off-the-shoulder dress is trimmed with lace and overlaid with stylized leaves entwined with pansies, a symbol of the Trinity. In Victorian flower language, “pansy” was the anglicized spelling of the French pensée, or “thoughtful recollection.”

La Petite Pensée, Thomas Ball (American, Charlestown, Massachusetts 1819–1911 Montclair, New Jersey), Marble, American

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