Fisher Boy

Artist: Hiram Powers (American, Woodstock, Vermont 1805–1873 Florence)

Date: 1841–44; carved 1857

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 57 1/2 x 19 x 16 in. (146.1 x 48.3 x 40.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Bequest of Hamilton Fish, 1894

Accession Number: 94.9.1


Powers modeled Fisher Boy in Florence, Italy, where he earned an international reputation for his idealized subjects. In calling this figure “a kind of Appollino,” he referred to ancient Greek depictions of Apollo as the epitome of male youth. However, rather than present his only male nude in a mythological guise, the longtime expatriate sculptor insisted on cloaking it in a modern genre subject—a young fisherman’s use of a conch shell to listen for warnings of inclement weather. Half-buried shells carved on the base suggest an ocean setting.