Archive for February, 2013
On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington (Feb. 22, 1732), we visit Hermon MacNeil’s famous statue in Washington Square, NYC. Photos here show it both today and in MacNeil’s original plaster model of 1915 from his College Point studio. His model was located just this past year. (See photos below).
CLICK BELOW for The Washington Arch as New Yorkers and visitors stroll southward from Fifth Avenue into Washington Park.
CLICK BELOW for General George Washington ~ MacNeil’s patriot Commander of the Continental Army.
CLICK BELOW for President Washington ~ Alexander Stirling Calder’s rendition of the civilian “Mr. President”
BELOW is my photo of MacNeil’s original studio plaster model for the George Washington Statue. It is about 3 1/2 feet tall.
The actual statues on the Arch are 12 feet tall. They were both carved by the Piccirilli Brothers. To see a clay model for the piece CLICK BELOW =>
The Picarrilli’s were a famous family of stone-carvers and sculptors who made many of the great sculpture carvings of that period (early 20th century).
George Rogers Clark is in Vincennes, Indiana. Hermon MacNeil’s sculpture of this American Revolutionary hero stands 7 1/2 feet tall.
For over 75 years, this larger-than-life bronze celebrates the ‘Conquest of the West.’ Inside the refurbished rotunda, the proud patriot stands braced on his drawn sword with a face filled with accomplishment. Commissioned by Patrick Henry in the Virginia Militia, George Rogers Clark, a brilliant young military strategist, conceived and accomplished a near impossible mission that won the West to the Mississippi River for the 13 United States in 1779.
(For more on the story of Fort Sackville and Clark’s dedicated militia men SEE below: )
For more on this National Monument see: http://www.nps.gov/gero/index.htm
In May 2012 Donna and I travelled across Illinois on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Highway (U.S. 50), leading to the National Monument in Vincennes. These are a few of our images of this amazing monument to this “unsung hero of the American Revolution.”
Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D., in a piece entitled, “George Rogers Clark and the West” tells the story this way: (http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/the-war-on-the-frontier/george-rogers-clark-and-the-west.htm)
Clark responded to the loss of Vincennes with his usual vigor. He gathered a force of 172 men, half of them French volunteers. On February 6, 1779, Clark started his men on their 180-mile march. At first the journey was a pleasant hike. The men were able to hunt fresh game to eat, and spirits were high.
On February 13, Clark’s little army was only twenty miles from Vincennes when they began to feel the full force of the floods. It took two days to get across the Little Wabash River. Game animals disappeared and the men went hungry. They were now slogging through water that was sometimes up to their shoulders. Every mile forward came at the price of almost unbearable exertion. Only Clark’s indomitable will kept his men going. He placed a party in the rear with orders to shoot any man who would not press on. Men who physically collapsed were dragged along in canoes.
Clark finally reached the vicinity of Vincennes on February 23. While his men tried to dry their clothes and ate broth made from some buffalo meat seized from an Indian woman, Clark sent word to the people of Vincennes that he was going to take the town that night. Clark intended to rely on bluff. His men were out of ammunition, and he learned that Hamilton had just been reinforced by 200 Indians. True to his word, Clark marched on the town, ordering parties of his men to parade up and down to create the illusion that he had a larger force than he actually did. The townspeople replenished Clark’s ammunition, and Hamilton’s Indians deserted him.
Clark immediately besieged the fort, pushing to within thirty feet of the wall. Clark’s riflemen picked off Hamilton’s gunners when they tried to fire artillery from the walls. Clark called for unconditional surrender and threatened to storm the place otherwise. To illustrate the consequences, he had five Indians who had been captured with American scalps tied to their belts tomahawked within view of the fort. Hamilton surrendered with seventynine men. Another forty bringing in supplies were captured soon after.
George Rogers Clark had achieved much with very little. He had rolled back British power in the region and helped his countrymen establish a solid foothold in the Ohio River Valley. Clark held the Illinois Country for the rest of the war, although he was never able to fulfill his ambition to attack Detroit. Men and supplies were always in too short supply. The British continued to sponsor Indian attacks that terrorized American settlements in the Ohio Valley. SOURCE: Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D., in a piece entitled, “George Rogers Clark and the West” ; ( http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/the-war-on-the-frontier/george-rogers-clark-and-the-west.htm )
On February 5, 1911 lightning struck the Missouri Capitol in the evening. Responders included local firefighters, state penitentiary inmates and even fire crews from as far as sixty miles away in Sedalia, Missouri. Many came by train to help. But the building was a total loss. The resulting fire had entirely destroyed the state’s historic building complex (see the ‘day after’ photo below).
After the public saw the devastating results of the fire, donations began to come in for restoration. School children collected coins, the public sent gifts, and private funds contributes as well. All helped to rebuild the the Jefferson City capitol with new sculptures and new art making it more spectacular that before.
Hermon A. MacNeil was one of the many famous American sculptors commissioned for sculptures and art for the new Missouri Capitol after the tragic fire. Other renowned sculptors commissioned for work on the re-built state structure include: James Earl Fraser, Robert Aiken, Alexander A. Weinman, Karl Bitter, and Alexander Stirling C(see photo below)alder.Stay tuned for more on MacNeil’s work there in Jefferson City.