Thetis and Achilles

Pierce Francis Connelly American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Deriving inspiration from classical mythology, Connelly depicted the Greek sea goddess Thetis contemplating the fate of her infant son Achilles. The life-size marble exemplifies the late American neoclassical penchant for narrative detail; the shell-and-trident border on Thetis’s heavy drapery and the conch at her feet both reference the goddess’s origin in the sea. “Thetis and Achilles” was among the most celebrated sculptures of Connelly’s eleven entries at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In early 1877 the work was presented to the Metropolitan, the second piece of American sculpture to enter the collection after Hiram Powers’s “California” (72.3).

Thetis and Achilles, Pierce Francis Connelly (1841–1932), Marble, American

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