Lincoln, Graphite, & Maquette for “Swing Low”

After work today Mom and I went to the Memorial Art Gallery to see the “Lincoln in Rochester” exhibition, which was excellent, oh my. No pics allowed, unfortunately, but if you click on the link above you can see some of what I saw. Did you know that John Wilkes Booth has been spotted in the audience at President Lincoln’s second inauguration on March 4, 1865? That sent chills up and down my spine. You can click here to go see that photo on Wikipedia.

We also saw “Leaded: The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite” exhibition, and one of my favorite works in this exhibition is this Skyscraper made out of pencils.  Again, no photos allowed.

Something I could take photos of is this Maquette for “Swing Low” by Alison Saar, 2007, out of bronze.



The sign reads:

Take some time to look at this figure of a woman.  Don’t miss the roots that she trails behind her and the faces and objects that are scattered on her skirt.  This is a portrait sculpture of Harriet Tubman, the heroic woman who escaped from slavery and yet returned to the South between 1849 and 1860 to lead over seventy slaves to freedom.  In later years, she worked alongside Susan B. Anthony to advance women’s right to vote.

Artist Alison Saar was commissioned to create a public sculpture of Tubman for the park at 122nd Street in New York City.  MAG’s work is a maquette, or a smaller version.  Saar represented Harriet Tubman as a person of great determination and strength, and positioned her as an oncoming train because of her reputation as “the Moses of the Underground Railroad.”  Even her petticoat resembles a train’s cowcatcher, pushing aside all obstacles in its path.  Roots signify Tubman’s efforts to uproot slavery, and the uprootedness of the slaves who had to leave everything behind.  “Swing Low” is a Negro spiritual said to be one of Tubman’s favorites.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynne at Hasty Brook
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 21:07:15

    What a beautiful sculpture.


  2. mon@rch
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 21:43:08

    Very nice!


  3. Susan Gets Native
    Feb 18, 2009 @ 00:36:07

    I like that! Art with meaning.
    Great. Now I have that song in my head.


  4. Linda in Erie
    Feb 18, 2009 @ 00:38:31

    Museums are always so interesting. It’s a bummer they hardly ever let you take photos at them. That is a neat story about the sculpture.


  5. jayne
    Feb 18, 2009 @ 07:54:19

    What a beautiful piece of art. Thanks so much for sharing it with us Pam. :c)


  6. Mary
    Feb 22, 2009 @ 20:16:36

    Now that is real art.


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