This publication offers a sustained examination and new interpretations of one of the most famous sculptures of the nineteenth century, The Greek Slave created by Hiram Powers. The twin themes of the “transatlantic” and the “object” underpin this project’s approach. Moving the statue out of an insistently American frame, sixteen contributors consider The Greek Slave as a set of objects that crossed and recrossed the Atlantic. Displayed in many contexts and locations, the statue became both an icon of the shared Anglo-American culture of the nineteenth century and a symbol of the cultural and political divisions generated by America’s slave trade. The special issue examines The Greek Slave not as a single object, for which any reproduction acts as a surrogate, but as a series of distinctive objects, including the six full-size statues and the varied reproductions that take the form and name of the original sculpture.
Offered for free without subscription fees, the special issue takes full advantage of the interactive platform and presents an immersive and interactive study of The Greek Slave. It includes detailed technical analysis and imaging; an interactive map and timeline; the inclusion of music, in the form of recorded performances and their respective scores; and the presentation of extensive archival and printed primary resources.
Martina Droth, Deputy Director of Research and Curator of Sculpture at the Center, and Michael Hatt, Professor of Art History at the University of Warwick, recently worked together on the Center’s major exhibition Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention, 1837–1901, which was on display at the Center in fall 2014 and traveled to Tate Britain in spring 2015. The exhibition was accompanied by a colloquium on The Greek Slave sponsored by the Terra Foundation.
The special issue “The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers: A Transatlantic Object,” edited by Droth and Hatt, is a project co-sponsored by the Center and the Terra Foundation and has been published in the award-winning digital journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. Other contributors to the issue include Tim Barringer, Caitlin Beach, Helen A. Cooper, Lily Cox-Richard, Patrizia diBello, Martina Droth, Cybèle T. Gontar, Vivien Green Fryd, Michael Hatt, Tess Korobkin, Sarah Kraus, Karen Lemmey, Tanya Pohrt, Alex Potts, Joseph Roach, L. H. Shockey, and Lisa Volpe.