Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Art

Sub-Department

Art History

First Advisor

Andrew Graciano

Abstract

This study examines the creation, exhibition and cultural influence of Hiram Powers's Greek Slave (first version, c. 1843), a marble sculpture that depicts a white female figure with shackled wrists. During the mid-nineteenth century, the statue appeared in exhibitions throughout Europe and America. In antebellum America, where the work was seen by more than one hundred thousand viewers, the Greek Slave tapped into an increasingly complex set of discourses surrounding issues of slavery and race. Through close formal analysis and a careful examination of the social and cultural contexts in which the work was created and displayed, I demonstrate how the Greek Slave variously contested and reified American ideologies of race.

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