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
(1819-1895)
Date
1873
Medium
Marble
Dimensions
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.)
Accession #
1986.41
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Klein
Category
Subject
On View
Yes
On Loan
No

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