"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Samuel F. B. Morse

This 1831 marble bust of Samuel F. B. Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) by Horatio Greenough is on display in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
"Samuel F. B. Morse, artist and inventor, was living in Italy when close friend and sculptor, Horatio Greenough, created this portrait. Shortly after, Morse wrote to a friend, 'Mr. Greenough has just completed a bust of me, which all say is an excellent likeness.' The slight turn of the head, hint of a smile, and veining of the left temple indicate Greenough's penchant for naturalism. The armless, nude torso, stylized hair, and blank eyes, however, reveal the sculptor's equal ability to idealize figures." -- SAAM

Contrast Greenough's youthful portrait of painter S.F.B. Morse sculpted just before Morse began his telegraphy experiments with this engraving of the famous inventor from a painting by Alonzo Church published in Duyckinck, 1878.

  "Likeness from the last approved photograph from life"

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