Peace in Bondage

Erastus Dow Palmer (1817-1904) Artist
1863 Date:
Marble in original wood frame Materials
30 H x 25 3/4 W x 1 1/2 D (marble); 36 1/2 H x 31 3/4 W (frame) Dimensions
Signed and dated lower left on tree trunk: E. D. PALMER SC. / 1863; signed and dated on reverse: E. D. Palmer Sc. / 1863 / Albany, N.Y.; inscribed on lower curved rim: PEACE IN BONDAGE Marks
Gift of Frederick Townsend Credit
1910.1 Accession number
Erastus Dow Palmer's striking, idealized relief was inspired by a contemporary political event—the Civil War. The angel of peace, whose hands are tied behind her, is shown "wreathed with the broken olive branch, contemplating the ills of War, with compassion and sorrow," Palmer wrote of his work. There are no other sculptural images from this period that reveal such a personal, artistic statement about the country's vulnerability during wartime. Many nineteenth-century sculptures represented bound cupids and angels and mythological women chained. These captive figures provided a vehicle for sculptural form that was both provocative and stimulating. The sensual portrayal of the seminude woman was never an issue with the public with this relief, because its deeper meaning about the war was understood. Additional comments

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