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Hiram Powers (American, 1805–1873), The Greek Slave, white marble, after 1845. H. 27 ½ in. Gallery 29B
Spending much of his childhood in Ohio after the age of 14, Hiram Powers became very familiar with the diverse collection of Cincinnati’s Western Museum (a forerunner to the Cincinnati Museum Center), eventually performing installation work for the museum before his career as a sculptor took off. In 1837 he moved to Florence, Italy, where he remained the rest of his life. His inspiration for this sculpture—which was a huge popular success—was his strong position against slavery, having witnessed his father’s own enslavement as a servant brought over from Ireland. This bust of the Greek Slave is one of many in museum collections across the country; Powers’ original full-length version resides in Raby Castle, England.
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