Harriet Hosmer
1830 - 1908
When sculptor Harriet Hosmer moved to Rome in 1852, she joined a large international circle of artists and writers that included actress Charlotte Cushman, poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James. Hosmer's talent for friendship and her independent spirit propelled a long, successful career. She was known for her eccentric, practical style, shown here by her man-tailored jackets and short hair. Hosmer's art struck a more conventional chord, however. Her first success came from a humorous figure of Puck, which eventually sold fifty replicas, including one to the Prince of Wales. Her sensual depiction of heroines such as Beatrice Cenci and Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, earned notoriety and acclaim. Today, Hosmer also remains important as the model for Hilda in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Marble Faun, and as the leader of a group of American women artists in Rome. Hosmer posed for Mathew Brady in October 1857, on a brief, triumphant visit back to the United States.

Mathew Brady Studio Imperial salted-paper print with ink enhancements, 1857
45.5 x 36.5 cm (17 7/8 x 14 3/8 inches); 29 x 23 inches framed
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
on deposit from Harvard College Library; bequest of Evert Jansen Wendell