Who was the model for the Statue of Liberty?
#106007. Asked by CapainNemo. (May 31 09 5:23 PM)
The Roman goddess Libertas or Liberty was quite accustomed to being depicted in art prior to Bartholdi's statue.|
Here's detail of an 1872 statue in Florence by the sculptor Fredi, which bears a remarkable resemblence to Bartholdi's later face and pose:
Most authoritative sites list the face model being Bartholdi's mother Charlotte.
National Park Service is one of many:
Site with original clay model along with (small) painting of his mother:
A smaller secondary role was apparently played by his future wife Jeanne-Emilie Baheux de Puysieux as a fill-in model and body model:
This page also has a better picture of his mother's painting.
There are a number of sites, and one book, that list the inspiration as Isabelle Boyer, the widow of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer, whom Bartholdi met in Luxembourg in 1878, and with whom he might possibly have had an affair.
However, there's zero detail to this. The book is about her family, and it might have been a legend started by them after the fact due to a rumored resemblence. In any event, if he did indeed meet her in 1878, 3 years after the clay model was completed, he would not have had time to alter the actual statue's face, which was completed early that year, for showing at the Paris Exposition. Barring other evidence, it appears her claim is merely legend.
So other than simply classical inspirations, any real depictions appear to be his mother's head on his future wife's body.
Also, see question #54335
Datsme, I can't find anything about Bartholdi's mother on the NPS site you link to. I did finally find it here, though--the 4th question:|
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