Jerusalem in Her Desolation (also called Jerusalem and Jerusalem Lamenting)
William Wetmore Story
Story based this personification of the holy city of Jerusalem on a passage of Lamentations, in which the prophet Jeremiah writes of the destruction brought by the Babylonians. The text inspired Story to carve the figure of a mournful woman at the center of dramatic events, a subject he also represented in his sculpture Semiramis (also in the Academy collection). Jerusalem is despondent yet regal as she sits amid ruins. She wears a symbol of Jewish piety—the phylactery—on her forehead. Her expression suggests bitter sorrow but her body’s composure implies a determination to overcome calamity. Jerusalem in Her Desolation was commissioned by Nancy McClellan Grigg, a wealthy Philadelphian living in Paris, for presentation to the Academy. The sculpture was unveiled with great fanfare during the opening ceremonies of the Academy’s historic building.
Date of Birth
pedestal: 35 x 42 x 46 in. (88.9 x 106.68 x 116.84 cm.); statue: 67 x 42 x 46 in. (170.18 x 106.68 x 116.84 cm.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Klein