John Quincy Adams Ward American
Not on view
In 1870 Ward produced a small study of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) that was approved by the City of New York for a heroic statue to be installed in Central Park. The over-lifesize finished sculpture, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the poet's birth, was unveiled on May 23, 1872, eight years after the monument’s cornerstone was laid. Although there are small differences between the monumental bronze and subsequent statuettes, all depict a robust Shakespeare standing in a modified contrapposto pose. Ward took great pains to ensure accuracy, relying primarily on well-known precedents in sculpture and prints. The popular actor James Morrison Steele Mackay posted for Ward on several occasions. The “Shakespeare” statuette was one of three bronzes by Ward that the Metropolitan purchased from his widow in 1917.